FCO Power Inc., based at the University of Tokyo, Japan, has announced the development of a next-generation solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) which achieves high volumetric power density, 3 kW/L, at low cost. The Printed Fuel Cell™ is a SOFC stack in which all single cell layers, including separators (anode, electrolyte, cathode and ceramic separator) are laminated repeatedly before sintering and subsequently simultaneously sintered only once as a stack.
FCO Power states that the fuel cell does not require a cell support because it does not need to maintain mechanical strength as single cell unit. As a result, the total thickness of a single cell and separator is just 0.3 mm, which is approximately one tenth the thickness of conventional technology.
Because it is so thin the Printed Fuel Cell™ achieves 3 kW/L, a figure that is claimed to be the highest level yet attained. This significantly surpasses the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization’s (NEDO) stack power density target for 2020 to 2030, which is 0.4 to 1 kW/L.
Additionally, the Printed Fuel Cell™ has a simple, thin laminated structure that requires a limited amount of material and parts, making it suitable for low-cost, automated mass production. As a result, FCO Power expects to be able to price the Printed Fuel Cell™ at a level that is well below NEDO’s target stack price of JPY 50,000 /kW for 2020 to 2030.
FCO Power aims to commercialise the Printed Fuel Cell™ around 2018 to 2020 with a focus on application in limited spaces, such as in apartments for home use, and for distributed power use in offices and factories, which require significant cost efficiency.