Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Power Generator
Award last edited on: 12/3/2022

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
DOD : Army
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Thomas Westrich

Company Information

Adaptive Energy LLC (AKA: Adaptive Materials Inc)

5500 South State Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
   (734) 302-7632

Research Institution

Colorado School of Mines

Phase I

Contract Number: W911NF-19-P-0035
Start Date: 5/17/2019    Completed: 2/5/2020
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Adaptive Energy (AE) is a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) development and manufacturing company focused on providing reliable, robust, and cost-effective SOFC products at the 100-350W power output range. Due to the usage of microtubular SOFC cells (6.6mm diameter tubes) in these products, AE’s SOFCs avoid the traditional pitfalls of larger SOFC systems – mainly sealing and thermal cycling. The AE commercial 250W battery tending SOFC system (TRL9) is capable of 250 complete thermal cycles and 3,000 hours of endurance performance. As a result, AE has become a market leader in the sub-kilowatt backup & remote power industry. AE’s SOFC technology will be leveraged in this work to generate an extremely competitive 1-3kW SOFC concept design that will be capable of bridging the existing performance gap between ICE and fuel cell technologies. Many of the traditional planar SOFC challenges will be avoided with the microtubular AE technology (such as ability to thermally cycle and interconnect and sealing challenges). A majority of this Phase I work will be geared toward understanding the limitations to accelerating startup time for SOFCs and understanding the effects of vibration on microtubular SOFCs and on SOFC thermal insulation packages.

Phase II

Contract Number: W911NF-21-C-0057
Start Date: 9/27/2021    Completed: 9/26/2023
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
This proposed work is intended to demonstrate the innovative SOFC Power Generator explored in the Phase I SBIR work and introduce novel technologies from our Research Partner to further reduce system weight and increase system lifetimes. The Phase II development will have four main Objectives (Optimization, Design, Test, and Deliver) and three core areas of work (SOFC Stack, Housing & Suspension, and Electronics). Technical Objective 1: Utilize state-of-the-art electrochemical kinetic modeling established at Colorado School of Mines (CSM, Dr. Robert Kee) to optimize the SOFC current collection designs in an effort to minimize current collection mass, as well as optimize performance and mitigate chromium degradation mechanisms traditionally observed in AE SOFC systems. Provide experimental feedback (CSM, Dr. Neal Sullivan) on chromium mitigation opportunities to train modeling exercises. Technical Objective 2: Update the designs generated in Phase I of this work for the SOFC Stack, system Housing and Suspension, and Electronics. These design updates should remain consistent with the original program metrics (shown in Table 1) and rely on the Platoon Power Generator performance specification where appropriate. Incorporate SOFC cell performance optimization opportunities from CSM based on a SWAP analysis. Technical Objective 3: Build at least 2 prototype SOFC Power Systems at the 1kW level for testing and evaluation in laboratory environments. These prototypes will be tested for cyclic endurance, startup time, and vibration tolerance, per the program metrics. Additional environmental or simulated field testing may occur within this objective. Technical Objective 4: Update the system design to correct design flaws highlighted in prototype system testing and produce 1 functional prototype of a 1kW SOFC power system that meet the Phase I metrics (outlined in Table 1) and substantially meet the requirements listed in the Platoon Power Generator Performance Specification. AE anticipates that this delivered system will have reached TRL 4-5 maturity and be subsequently used for testing and evaluation purposes by the US Army.