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SAFCell stack delivery completes diesel fuel cell project with Nordic Power

California-based SAFCell Inc has delivered a 1.2 kW solid acid fuel cell (SAFC) stack to Nordic Power Systems in Norway. Delivery of the new fuel cell stack – optimized for weight and performance – meets the final technical milestone in SAFCell’s 18-month development contract with NPS.

In January 2010 SAFCell was contracted by the Norwegian system integrator Nordic Power Systems to develop its medium-temperature SAFC stacks for incorporation into NPS’s diesel auxiliary power units (APUs). That August SAFCell delivered a 250 W stack to NPS, which was integrated and tested with the NPS cool flame diesel reformer system.

The 250 W stack was operated on commercial diesel reformate gas, under realistic operating conditions, achieving 75 per cent of the performance of lab testing under pure hydrogen. This minimal performance loss confirms SAFC tolerances to high levels of impurities (up to 10 per cent CO) that poison and dramatically reduce the performance of lower-temperature fuel cell technologies.

‘[We] know that our stacks are now ready for commercialization in key initial markets requiring commercially available fuels such as diesel,’ says SAFCell’s founder and CEO, Dr Calum Chisholm.

With support from the Norwegian Research Council, the SAFC stack will be integrated into the NPS proprietary cool flame diesel reformer system.

Combining these two advanced technologies will result in lighter, quieter, less costly, and higher-performing diesel fuel cell systems that NPS plans to market for both mobile and stationary auxiliary power applications.

The NPS cool flame reformer allows for onboard, on-demand diesel or biodiesel reforming in fuel cell systems for a variety of markets. NPS is now delivering its first demonstrators to selected partners, in preparation for commercial introduction.

The SAFCell solid acid fuel cell stacks operate at around 250°C, and tolerate fuel impurities that pose obstacles to other fuel cell technologies. This allows SAFCell stacks to run more easily on commercially available gas fuels (e.g. propane and butane) or liquid fuels (e.g. methanol, diesel, and bio-oils), greatly reducing the overall fuel cell system complexity and cost.

SAFCell is partnering with targeted system integrators to enter first portable, and then stationary power markets.

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Bioenergy  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells