SiEnergy Systems, LLC, which is commercializing low temperature thin film solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology from Harvard University, is pleased to announce that it was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) under their AmplifyMass program.
AmplifyMass offers its awards to Massachusetts-based clean technology companies and university research projects that have been given funding by the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy) program, which SiEnergy Systems won in 2014.
SiEnergy Systems is developing a thin film SOFC for the portable and small power generation markets. The technology is designed to reduce fuel cell cost, and allow fast start-up and load-following capability by responding rapidly to changes in power demand. The targeted end result aims to be a practical, affordable, and energy efficient system that is able to use convenient fuels and significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are very pleased to be a recipient of this grant, which will provide SiEnergy with resources to invest in additional research and development that will accelerate the progress of our technologies,” said Vincent Chun, General Manager of SiEnergy and a Vice President at its parent company, Allied Minds (LSE: ALM). “The support of the MassCEC goes beyond just the funding that they’re providing. MassCEC is engaged in pushing forward clean energy in ways that benefit the portfolio of companies that now includes SiEnergy, and opens up opportunities for advocacy and networking.”
SiEnergy’s technology uses nanometer scale electrolytes to create SOFCs that operate at a commercially desirable temperature and is scalable to meet various power requirements. Thin film SOFC is a promising technology that provides solutions to cost and reliability challenges of fuel cells today.
Fuel cells—or devices that directly convert the chemical energy of a fuel source into electrical energy—are considered optimal for distributed power generation systems, which generate power close to where it is used. Distributed generation systems offer an alternative to the large, centralized power generation facilities or power plants that are currently commonplace. While centralized power generation systems have an excellent economy of scale, they often require long transmission distances between supply and distribution points, leading to efficiency losses throughout the grid. Additionally, it is difficult for centralized power systems to balance power generation with the grid demand in the presence of intermittent renewable power sources. Fuel cells provide efficient power generation capability and improved grid stability through local balancing of the power supply and demand.