Mount Pleasant, PA, December 22, 2020—WATT Fuel Cell (“WATT”), in partnership with Peoples Gas (“Peoples”), has reached a significant milestone on their path to the commercialization of residential fuel cell systems. Utilizing its proprietary additive manufacturing process, WATT has increased its fuel cell stack power more than 100% to over 2000W and improved system efficiency by more than 50%.
“We are excited about the advancements in the fuel cell technology and looking forward to piloting systems in homes in 2021,” says Jeff Nehr, Peoples Gas Vice President, Production & Business Development.
The fuel cell systems directly convert natural gas through an electrochemical reaction to electricity, with little to zero emissions. It works in parallel with the electric grid, as well as other renewable resources such as solar, to generate power on-site at the time of need. Clean, compact, and quiet, WATT’s fuel cell system provides a power source that is Working All The Time.
WATT’s current products utilize air to process the fuel, which is referred to as partial oxidation (“POX”), the simplest and most cost-effective form of fuel processing but is usually far less efficient. However, WATT’s additive manufacturing process and extensive catalysis expertise has enabled WATT to develop industry-leading efficiencies while retaining the financial advantages associated with the simplified system requirements.
“The new fuel cell and stack technology developed by WATT will enable the residential POX system to reach system efficiencies of over 40% and produce over 2kW of power,” noted Caine Finnerty, President and COO of WATT. Finnerty continued, “Most companies in our industry use the more expensive steam option to process the fuel, which can offer increased efficiency; we believe that producing the most cost-effective POX based solution—will drive faster adoption and therefore achieve the associated environmental benefits sooner. That said, we tested our new cell technology under steam reforming conditions and reached cell efficiencies of over 60%. As we drive systems costs down with volume, we are well-positioned to transition to a steam-based system.”
These advances in fuel cell technology and the lessons learned from the ongoing residential field trials will be folded into the new Beta Hybrid system, which WATT and Peoples Gas will roll-out in 2021.