Solid Oxide Fuel Cells - How
Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that combine hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity, heat and water. Hydrogen is not burned but is electrochemically combined with oxygen from air.
The absence of combustion in the fuel cell limits harmful nitrous and sulfur oxides emission. Since electricity is generated directly and involves no intermediate mechanical or thermal processes, fuel cells can be more efficient than combustion-based conventional technologies.
Although there are many types of fuel cells, they all have three basic components: an anode, a cathode and an electrolyte. Fuel cells are generally characterized by the make-up of the electrolyte (either solid or liquid), supporting structure (the anode, cathode or electrolyte), and by the ionic conductor (either proton or oxygen ion) and sometimes by the shape of individual cells. Versa Power Systems' solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is a ceramic planar (flat, square or rectangular) cell, with a solid electrolyte that is anode supported (the thickest component to which all other materials are subsequently mounted) and conducts oxygen ions. Other SOFC technologies exist and can be either cathode or electrolyte supported and are sometimes tubular in shape.
Beyond Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technology, there exist a number of other platforms, including Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC), Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells (MCFC), Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells (PAFC), Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC), and others.
FuelCell Energy, Inc., the parent of Versa Power Systems, sells stationary fuel cell power plants utilizing carbonate technology. The FuelCell Energy Direct FuelCell® power plants range in size from 300 kilowatts to 2.8 megawatts and are scalable, with a 14.9 megawatt fuel cell park under construction in Connecticut, USA and a 59 megawatt fuel cell park under construction in South Korea