Advanced Net-Shape Insulation for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Period of Performance: 01/01/2004 - 12/31/2004


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Technology Holding, LLC
825 North 300 West Array
Salt Lake City, UT 84103
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


73138-As solid oxide fuel cell technology matures, it is becoming increasingly important to lower the cost of insulation. Currently available low-cost insulation cannot be used in these applications because it contains silica, which volatilizes and degrades the anode. Therefore, new low-cost, net-shape options for solid oxide fuel cell insulation are needed. This project will develop a novel castable ceramic material with properties that make it ideal for solid oxide fuel cell insulation. These properties include net-shape fabrication capability, very low thermal conductivity, thermochemical stability up to 1000oC, and very good thermal shock resistance. In Phase I, the feasibility of using the castable ceramic materials as fuel cell insulation was proven through specific experiments. These experiments showed that the candidate insulation materials provide thermochemical stability under fuel rich environments; very low thermal conductivity (0.3-0.4 W/mK), as required for solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) insulation; and reliable performance of the solid oxide fuel cells when the insulation was exposed to the air/fuel mixture at high temperature. In Phase II, two net-shape insulation concepts from Phase I will be optimized and tested to demonstrate commercial product viability. Activities will include materials and process optimization, component fabrication, and long term testing in SOFC systems. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: Commercial sales of insulation materials for solid oxide fuel cells should exceed $3 million by the year 2010. It is anticipated that these new materials can capture a 40% market share, leading to annual sales of over $1.25 million to solid oxide fuel cell manufacturers and system integrators. By partnering with a commercial SOFC manufacturer in Phase II, the chances of developing a commercially viable SOFC insulation technology will be maximized.