DOE Technical Targets for Fuel Cell Systems for Portable Power and Auxiliary Power Applications

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These tables list the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) technical targets for fuel cell systems for portable power and auxiliary power applications.

More information about targets can be found in the Fuel Cells section of the Fuel Cell Technologies Office's Multi-Year Research, Development, and Demonstration Plan.

Technical Targets: Portable Power Fuel Cell Systems (5–50 Watts/100–200 Watts)a

Characteristic Units 2015 Status Ultimate Targets
Specific powerb W/kg 23h/25i 45/50
Power densityb W/L 24h/30i 55/70
Specific energyb,c Wh/kg 121j/450j 650/640
Energy densityb,c Wh/L 200i/300i,,j 650/900
Costd $/W 15i/15i 7/5
Durabilitye,f hours 1,500i/2,000i 5,000/5,000
Mean time between failuresf,g hours 500i/500i 5,000/5,000

a These targets are technology neutral and make no assumption about the type of fuel cell technology or type of fuel used. In addition to meeting these targets, portable power fuel cells are expected to operate safely, providing power without exposing users to hazardous or unpleasant emissions, high temperatures, or objectionable levels of noise. Portable power fuel cells are also expected to be compatible with the requirements of portable electronic devices, including operation under a range of ambient temperature, humidity, and pressure conditions, and exposure to freezing conditions, vibration, and dust. They should be capable of repeatedly turning off and on, and should have turndown capabilities required to match the dynamic power needs of the device. For widespread adoption, portable power fuel cell systems should minimize life-cycle environmental impact through the use of reusable fuel cartridges, recyclable components, and low-impact manufacturing techniques.
b This is based on rated net power of the total fuel cell system, including fuel tank, fuel, and any hybridization batteries. In the case of fuel cells embedded in other devices, only device components required for power generation, power conditioning, and energy storage are included. Fuel capacity is not specified, but the same quantity of fuel must be used in calculation of specific power, power density, specific energy, and energy density.
c Efficiency of 35% is recommended to enable high specific energy and energy density.
d Cost includes material and labor costs required to manufacture the fuel cell system and any required auxiliaries (e.g., refueling devices). Cost is defined at production rates of 25,000 and 10,000 units per year for 5–50 W and 100–200 W units, respectively.
e Durability is defined as the time until the system rated power degrades by 20%, though for some applications higher or lower levels of power degradation may be acceptable.
f Testing should be performed using an operating cycle that is realistic and appropriate for the target application, including effects from transient operation, startup and shutdown, and off-line degradation.
g Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) includes failures of any system components that render the system inoperable without maintenance.
h Status calculated based on commercial products from myFC at
iDOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Record 11009.
j Status calculated based on commercial products from ultracell at

Technical Targets: Fuel Cell Auxiliary Power Units (1 to 10 kWe) Operating on Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel Fuel

Characteristic Units 2015 Status 2020 Targets
Electrical efficiency at rated powera % (LHV) 29b 40
Power density W/L 16b 40
Specific power W/kg 18b 45
Factory cost, systemc $/kWe 2,100d 1,000
Transient response (10% to 90% rated power) min 5e 2
Start-up time from 20°C min 70b 30
Start-up time from standby conditionsf min 5
Degradation with cyclingg %/1,000 h 2.6e 1
Operating lifetimeg,h h 3,000e 20,000
System availabilityi % 97e 99

a Regulated DC net/LHV of fuel.
bDESTA—Demonstration of 1st European SOFC Truck APU, Programme Review Days 2015.
c Cost includes materials and labor costs to produce system. Cost defined at 50,000 unit/year production of a 5 kW system. Today's low-volume cost is expected to be higher than quoted status. Allowable cost is expected to be higher than the target for systems with rated power below 5 kW, and lower than the target for systems with rated power above 5 kW.
d Modeled cost of a 5 kW SOFC APU system produced at 50,000 units/year. F. Eubanks et al., "Stationary and Emerging Market Fuel Cell System Cost Analysis—Auxiliary Power Units," 2015 Annual Merit Review, slide 20.
e DOE Hydrogen Program Record 11001, "Revised APU Targets".
f Standby conditions may be at or above ambient temperature depending on operating protocol.
g Durability testing should include, at minimum, daily cycles to stand-by condition, and weekly cycles to full off condition (ambient temperature). The system should be able to meet durability criteria during and after exposure to vibration associated with transportation and highway operation, and during operation in a range of ambient temperature from -40°C to 50°C, a range of ambient relative humidity from 5% to 100%, and in dust levels up to 2 mg/m3.
h Time until >20% net power degradation.
i Percentage of time the system is available for operation under realistic operating conditions and load profile. Scheduled maintenance does not count against system availability.