Keywords: distributed generation, solid oxide fuel cells, SOFC, Solid State Energy Alliance, SECA, FutureGen, power management systems, power conditioning, topologies, grid-parallel, power markets, benefits, power electronics, power generation, Department of Energy, United States, USA, converters, inverters
Application of power electronics with the US DOE distributed generation programme
Power electronics play an important role in achieving affordable, highly fuel-efficient fuel cell power generation plants and will enable the US Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy Fuel Cells programme to achieve higher national goals: environmental, economic and energy security. The initial focus on power electronics has been to understand the interactions between the SOFC stack, the power conditioning subsystem and the application load requirements and dynamic behaviour. Advances in lower-cost and high-efficiency power electronic converters and inverters are a major factor in achieving attractive simple cycle fuel to electricity conversion efficiencies of 50% to 60% for DG fuel cell power plants. Functionality and performance requirements for power conditioning subsystems will vary between the numerous possible applications for SOFC power generation technology, providing a highly interesting and challenging future in power systems product engineering and development.