Siemens Westinghouse announced today that it has signed a contract with BP to install a 250 kW solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) at BP’s gas-to-liquids test facility in Nikiski, Alaska.

The prototype SOFC system will be installed in 2003 and will use natural gas as its fuel.

BP plans to use about 150 kilowatts of the unit’s output to power the warehouse and administration building of the gas-to-liquids facility. The gas-to-liquids plant is designed to demonstrate new technology developed by BP and Kvaerner to convert natural gas into high-quality, sulfur-free synthetic crude oil.

The U.S. Department of Energy is providing funding assistance with a $2 million grant requested by U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

“The BP SOFC system will be the second prototype of our first commercial product, and will be a scaled-up version of the 100 kW system that has operated so successfully in Europe” said Thomas Voigt, president of the Stationary Fuel Cells division of Siemens Westinghouse. “It will also be the first SOFC plant to be operated outdoors, and the Alaskan climate should be a good test of its capabilities.”

A solid oxide fuel cell operates on the same principles as a battery � it electrochemically produces electric current from the chemical energy in a fuel, and does so efficiently and with nearly zero emissions.

The SOFC system will be fabricated at the Siemens Westinghouse Stationary Fuel Cells facility located in Pittsburgh, Pa. Siemens Westinghouse plans to commercialize SOFC cogeneration systems with first commercial deliveries in 2003. Siemens Westinghouse is developing SOFC technology under a cooperative agreement with the DOE, through its National Energy Technology Laboratory

Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, is the regional business entity in the Americas for Siemens Power Generation’s global fossil power generation business, which has an installed fleet of nearly 550 000 MW worldwide.