GE Energy has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DoE) to develop a multi-megawatt solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)-based power system operating on coal.

Under a 10-year, three-phase agreement with DoE valued at $83 million, GE Energy’s Hybrid Power Generation Systems (HPGS) business will design and demonstrate an integrated gasification fuel cell (IGFC) system that incorporates a hybrid SOFC/gas turbine as the primary power generation unit. A key objective of the effort is to achieve greater than 50% total system efficiency from coal.

The programme has three primary objectives including the development of a design for a 100 MW IGFC power plant and the demonstration of a proof of concept system.

Phase I of the development, a three-year effort, will begin in October and will focus on system design of the IGFC power plant. Phase II will further advance the design of the IGFC and proof of concept systems and will extend through to 2010. Phase III, beginning in the fifth year of the programme, will culminate in the demonstration of the system at an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant.