The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded FuelCell Energy a $11.7m cost share award for Phase III of the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) coal-based systems program involving building and operating a 60kW solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) module.

Versa Power Systems is the technology partner providing the cell and stack designs for the project having flexibility to create over 250kW modules.

The Federal Government, private industry and academia collaborated program aims to develop megawatt SOFC power plants based on coal syngas for pollution free power generation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The fuel flexible SOFC module is capable of operating on fuels such as coal syngas, natural gas and renewable biogas.

The 60 kW SOFC module is expected to begin operations during summer 2012 at the FuelCell’s facility in Danbury, Connecticut, US.

FuelCell will continue to partner with Versa Power Systems, managing the project, developing and testing the stack module and power plant designs while Versa will continue to develop the core SOFC technology.

The Phase III program will cost $11.7m of which DOE will fund $8.2m.