WATT Fuel Cell announced a technological advancement that dramatically increases the efficiency of its fuel cells and reduces their CO2 emissions.
WATT achieved the breakthrough efficiency gain by employing a new catalytic partial oxidation (CPOX) fuel processing technology combined with its innovative Additive Manufacturing Process (AMP), a 3D printing process that enables them to tailor the composition and microstructure of their solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). WATT's process results in superior performance and thermal shock capabilities that are not achievable with traditional SOFC manufacturing processes.
"One of WATT's biggest advantages is that we develop and manufacture our own fuel cell and fuel processing technologies here in the U.S., which we then integrate into our systems. This level of vertical integration enables us to rapidly develop and implement innovative ideas and stay at the cutting edge of SOFC technology. Our technology was already outperforming other similar fuel cell system efficiencies by 10-15%; this advancement continues to extend that advantage," said Caine Finnerty, WATT's President, COO, and founder.
The development results from an innovative CPOX reforming process, leading to >50% efficiency in WATT's SOFCs, besting competitors by an additional 10%.
CPOX reforming, the combination of air and fuel to produce H2, is used for its simplicity, ability to cycle, and lower price point. The process traditionally yields a lower efficiency than steam reforming, which involves processing fuel with steam rather than air. WATT's new technology levels the playing field, delivering performance comparable to steam-based systems, without the disadvantages of the additional components and costs.
A case study analyzing the impacts of the increased efficiency for deployment of the Imperium residential fuel cell systems by a mid-Atlantic gas utility indicates 40% avoided CO2 emissions.
WATT is gaining business momentum as the company levers EQT's recent investment, announced in February 2022, and continues preparations to commercialize the Imperium unit.
"The firm's ongoing work with Peoples Gas over the past three years, and now EQT's engagement, will enable us to enter the residential market and harvest opportunities we have been pursuing for industrial/business fuel cell commercialization," said Rich Romer, WATT's CEO.