Power Generation from an Integrated Biofuel Reformer and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell

Period of Performance: 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Innovatek, Inc.
3100 George Washington Way
Richland, WA 99354
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Alternative energy sources must be sought to meet the energy demand of our growing economy and to improve energy security while reducing environmental impacts. The conversion of bio-oil from non-food-based biomass to hydrogen for fuel cells would allow significant increases in the use of renewable feedstocks for energy production. This project will develop a non-food-biomass-based power plant with a solid oxide fuel cell for distributed power generation in the range from 3 to 30 kW. The bio-oil that will be used in the proposed process will be made from agricultural and forestry residuals, such as wood sawdust, through the fast pyrolysis process. In Phase I, a conceptual system design was developed to demonstrate that an integrated reformer and solid oxide fuel cell system is a commercially viable approach for producing electricity from biomass. During Phase II a scaled-up prototype system, which uses sawdust-derived pyrolysis oil as the test fuel, will be designed, fabricated, and tested. Micro-channel components will be used to obtain a highly efficient reforming system that will help achieve an overall system efficiency of 40%. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The integrated power system should provide an opportunity to reduce the burden on the current electrical distribution system through greater availability of localized power generation from renewable sources. The use of bio-derived fuels in distributed generation applications would reduce the growth in the demand for natural gas and would enhance grid stability. By replacing petroleum-based fuels with renewable non-toxic biofuels, our nation can reduce its reliance on foreign sources of energy and reduce the environmental impacts of petroleum-based products