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Materials

GE Pilots New Fuel-Cell Technology

by Melody M. Bomgardner
July 28, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 30

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Credit: GE
GE’s new fuel-cell pilot plant.
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Credit: GE
GE’s new fuel-cell pilot plant.

General Electric will manufacture a new type of fuel cell at a pilot plant under construction in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The cell generates electricity from natural gas with a solid zirconium oxide electrolyte and a cathode and anode made of ceramics. No expensive platinum catalysts are involved, GE says. Stationary units made from stacks of the fuel cells will provide between 1 and 10 MW of power, the company says. When fed heated methane, the cells convert 65% of energy into electricity. An optional waste heat capture device can increase efficiency to up to 95%.

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