SiEnergy Systems, an Allied Minds company commercializing low temperature thin film solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology from Harvard University, is pleased to announce that it has been selected for $2.65 million in funding from Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). SiEnergy’s technology is one of only 13 projects funded by ARPA-E through the REBELS program.
SiEnergy Systems is seeking to develop a thin film SOFC for the mobile and small power generation markets in order to reduce fuel cell cost, and allow fast start-up and load following capability by responding rapidly to changes in power demand. The targeted end result is a practical, affordable, and energy efficient system that is able to use convenient fuels and significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
SiEnergy Systems is a subsidiary of Boston-based Allied Minds, a technology innovation company that funds, manages, and builds companies based on market-creating technologies developed at renowned U.S. universities and federal research institutions.
“In fuel cell mode, the system will create electricity directly from hydrocarbon fuels,” says Vincent Chun, Vice President of Allied Minds and General Manager of SiEnergy Systems. “In battery mode, the system is designed to provide storage capability that offers faster response to changes in power demand compared to a standard fuel cell. Additionally, the technology will operate at relatively low target temperatures of 300-500˚C, which makes the system much more durable than existing high-temperature fuel cells.”
SiEnergy’s technology uses inexpensive silicon-based technology and nanometer scale electrolytes to create SOFCs that operate at a commercially desirable temperature and are scalable to meet various power requirements. Thin film SOFC is a promising technology that provides solutions to cost and reliability challenges of fuel cells today.
Fuel cells—or devices that directly convert the chemical energy of a fuel source into electrical energy—are considered optimal for distributed power generation systems, which generate power close to where it is used. Distributed generation systems offer an alternative to the large, centralized power generation facilities or power plants that are currently commonplace. While centralized power generation systems have an excellent economy of scale, they often require long transmission distances between supply and distribution points, leading to efficiency losses throughout the grid. Additionally, it is difficult for centralized power systems to balance power generation with the grid demand in the presence of intermittent renewable power sources. Fuel cells provide efficient power generation capability as well as improve grid stability through local balancing of the power supply and demand.
“The projects funded through the REBELS program, including SiEnergy, are an excellent example of how ARPA-E is developing innovative technology options to transform and modernize America’s evolving electric grid,” said ARPA-E Acting Director Dr. Cheryl Martin. “Distributed generation technologies like these could fundamentally change the way America generates and stores energy.”
ARPA-E is an agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that invests in disruptive ideas to create America’s future energy technologies (www.arpa-e.energy.gov). ARPA-E recently announced $33 million in funding for 13 new projects, including SiEnergy Systems, aimed at developing transformational fuel cell technologies for low-cost distributed power generation. The projects, which are funded through ARPA-E’s new Reliable Electricity Based on Electrochemical Systems (REBELS) program, are focused on improving grid stability, balancing intermittent renewable technologies, and reducing CO2 emissions using electrochemical distributed power generation systems.
About SiEnergy Systems, LLC
SiEnergy Systems is a privately held start-up company formed by Allied Minds, Inc. to commercialize proprietary thin film solid oxide fuel cell technology developed at Harvard University. The technology uses commonplace high throughput manufacturing processes to create SOFCs with nanometer scale electrolytes that operate at low temperature, and are scalable to meet various power requirements. The “Silicon Energy” reduces the cost of SOFCs and creates clean and affordable mobile and small stationary power sources.
About Allied Minds
Allied Minds is a dedicated innovation and technology commercialization company that deploys capital to form, fund, manage and build companies based on market-creating technologies developed at renowned U.S. universities and federal research institutions. Allied Minds serves as a diversified holding company that supports its businesses with capital, management and shared services.