FuelCell Energy to develop new hybrid energy system
FuelCell Energy, a leading developer of hydrogen fuel cells, has announced that it has won a $3.8 million contract from the U.S. Navy. The contract tasks the company with the development of a hybrid energy system that combines solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and lithium-ion batteries. This energy system is meant to boast of high energy density and is to be easily refueled as it will be used for undersea vehicle propulsion.
SOFC-battery system to produce over 1,800 kilowatt-hours of energy
The hybrid energy system is to be capable of generating more than 1,800 kilowatt-hour of electricity and operate for approximately 70 days before needing to be refueled. FuelCell Energy will create a self-contained system that has limited to no reliance on outside factors apart from the times it needs to be fueled. The energy system will produce no exhaust or other pollutants, making it ideal for an undersea vehicle. FuelCell Energy notes that the project will be a challenge, but presents a unique opportunity to show the viability of hydrogen fuel cells and how they can be used with other sources of power.
Military continues to show its interest in alternative energy
The U.S. Navy has taken a keen interest in alternative energy. This interest is spurred by the stance the Department of Defense has taken on the issue of energy security. The agency has identified energy as a matter of national security. As such, it has pursued avenues to adopt alternative energy in an aggressive fashion. Hydrogen, biofuel, and solar power have become the most popular forms of energy that the agency has focused on.
FuelCell Energy team to be augmented by others to fulfill program requirements
A team will be assembled to assist FuelCell Energy in order to fulfill the requirements of the program. The SOFC that will be used in the system will be based upon technology developed by Versa Power Systems, a company that FuelCell Energy partially owns. The Energy Systems Division of NASA will also be joining the project to provide its own technologies and experience with clean energy systems such as fuel cells.
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