FuelCell Energy has announced that the US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded it approximately $1.9 million for the development of a ‘microchannel high temperature recuperator’ for fuel cell systems. The award will be funded from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

The programme’s goal is to improve the performance and cost of fuel cell power plants that are integrated with un-fired gas turbines in combined cycle applications such as FuelCell Energy’s ‘Direct FuelCell/Turbine’, by using advances in microchannel technology. Microchannels are tiny passages in the heat exchangers (recuperators) that significantly enhance heat recovery effectiveness and potentially reduce recuperator cost. The project includes the testing of prototype recuperators, test analysis, model validation, and design of units sized appropriately for a MW-class fuel cell system.