A complete system using the SECA technology has operated for 2,800 hours and continues to operate at the Siemens facility near Pittsburgh, PA. It has met or exceeded all of the DOE technical and economic objectives for Phase 1 of the SECA program.
There has been absolutely no degradation of cell or system performance during the period of operation. With lifetime a key factor in the commercialization of fuel cells, Siemens' program is the only SECA program believed to have achieved no cell degradation during extended operation. While the test duration required by the DOE was 1,500 hours, the system continues to be operated to determine lifetime, peak power and efficiency potential as the performance of the cells improve.
Siemens' seal-less planer high power density cells are a further development of the tubular cell design and represent a significant step forward towards commercialization of SOFC systems. This new technology has already demonstrated volumetric power density four times greater than the tubular cells, which translates into significantly reduced volume and reduced cost per kW. A number of configurations have already been tested, and further development and tests are planned to qualify the optimum system configurations.
The ultimate objective of the SECA program is for SOFCs to provide clean power fueled by syngas from domestic coal resources as part of DOE's FutureGen program.
Siemens plans to commercialize SOFC generators and systems in the 5 kW to multi-megawatt range, with pre-commercial deliveries in the 2006/2009 time frame depending on rating. Siemens is developing SOFC technology under cooperative agreements with the US Department of Energy, through its National Energy Technology Laboratory and the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.