Microturbine-SOFC hybrid chalks up 3000 hours

1 February 2010

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has achieved 3000 cumulative hours of operation – unprecedented in Japan – of a 200 kW class combined-cycle power generation system incorporating solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) and a micro gas turbine (MGT).

MHI began developing the SOFC-MGT combined-cycle power generation system in 2004 at its Nagasaki Shipyard and Machinery Works under a contract with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO). In 2007 the system marked a maximum power generation capacity of 229 kW, unprecedented in a system of this kind at that time, and confirmed 52.1% power generation efficiency, also the highest level in this class. The company has now achieved the 3000 hour milestone.

As a result of this success, MHI will pursue further reliability enhancement and system downsizing. The company is also working toward a business/industrial-use hybrid system supplying heat and electricty by combining SOFCs and an MGT in joint development with Toyota Motor Corporation. MHI further plans to develop a system for use by power generation companies.

SOFCs are ceramic-based fuel cells that operate at high temperature (above 900°C (1650 ° F)) and produce electricity directly by chemical reaction between the hydrogen and carbon oxides removed from town gas, and oxygen in the air. The hybrid combined-cycle system utilises the unreacted portion of fuel gas exhausted from the SOFC module and hot air also discharged from the module to drive an MGT to generate electricity. This system is able to achieve significantly higher power generation efficiency than conventional fossil-fuel power generation systems.

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