Fuel Cell Research and Development
Argonne efforts improve prospects for commercialization.

n Introduction

Fuel cells convert the chemical energy of fuels directly into electricity with high efficiency and very little pollution, making them attractive as power sources for the future. Their potential application spans all energy use sectors: utility, industrial, residen- tial, and transportation.

Argonne National Laboratory's twenty-five years of extensive experience in developing fuel cell technologies provide a solid base of knowledge about the technology's status in the United States and abroad. Over the years, the Laboratory has forged close working partnerships with many major fuel cell developers.

Argonne invented a monolithic, solid oxide fuel cell and has transferred this technology to AlliedSignal, which continues to develop it. Such fuel cells are targeted for utility applications because of their potential low cost, high power density, and fuel flexibility. This invention drew on Argonne's capabilities systems analyses, electrochemical characterization, materials development, and fuel cell design and fabrication.

n Fuel Processing for Fuel Cell Systems

Pioneered development of catalytic partial-oxidation reforming of conventional (e.g., gasoline and diesel) and alternative fuels (e.g., methanol, ethanol, propane, and natural gas) into hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Developed compact, light, and dynamically responsive fuel processors suitable for on-site, dispersed, or mobile (transportation) fuel cell power generation.

n System Design, Modeling, and Analysis

Expertise in analysis of power systems, including new and retrofit power plants and enhancements for stationary and transportation applications.

Expertise in analysis of power systems that use only fuel cells, or use fuel cells as part of integrated, combined-cycle systems with other components (e.g., reformers and gas and steam turbines).

n Fuel Cell Testing

On-site, state-of-the-art laboratory for fuel cell testing permits independent assessment and verification of projected performance, operational characteristics, and durability of fuel cells up to 50 kW for fuel cell developers and manufacturers.

Facilities for measuring multiple input/output parameters such as fuel and oxidant flows, temperatures, pressures, current, and voltage at sampling intervals of less than 1 second for determining dynamic response.

n Energy Use Pattern Analysis

Capability for determining energy consumption patterns for appliances, lighting, and heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems in buildings.

Technical support for designing fuel cell power generation systems for residential and commercial buildings.

n Contacts

For technical information, contact Walter Podolski, Argonne National Laboratory, Building 205, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439. Phone: 630/252-7558; fax: 630/252-4176; e-mail: podolski@cmt.anl.gov.

For information on working with Argonne, contact the Industrial Technology Development Center, Argonne
National Laboratory, Building 201, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Illinois 60439. Phone: 800/627-2596; fax: 630/252-5230.

February 1998

Argonne National Laboratory is operated by The University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract No. W-31-109-Eng-38.

The Argonne Fuel Cell Test Facility permits testing of fuel cells up to 50 kW. The large, controllable electric load and versatile control and data acquisition system make it possible to simulate demanding, real-world conditions. The sophisticated gas management system allows precise control of experimental conditions.