Will clean, affordable, and efficient solid oxide fuel cells be on the market in 10 years? That's the goal of the Solid-State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA), led by two Department of Energy labs - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Energy Technology Laboratory. SECA's goal is to develop a fuel cell that meets the diverse power needs of multiple markets and runs on abundant fossil fuels, such as natural gas, gasoline, and military fuels.
Members of SECA believe they can reduce fuel cell costs through mass production of a versatile, 5kW fuel cell module. Developers envision the module meeting energy needs in residential, military, and transportation markets. Nearer-term applications include auxiliary power to operate heaters, air conditioners and other accessories in automobiles and semi trucks, and complex electronics on military equipment. They also foresee stackable modules, so units can be combined to accommodate larger power needs.