One of the bullet points in Delphi's announcement
of their new fuel cell
power system is so enticingly exciting, until you finish the sentence. The exciting part is "SOFC auxiliary power systems can save 85 percent of the billion gallons of fuel consumed annually in the U.S." and that's gotta leave a few environmentalists and fuel consumers breathing heavy. The end of the sentence, though, reads, "during extended idling of heavy trucks." Still, these solid oxide fuel cell auxiliary power systems are well on their way to be introduced to the market by 2011. The systems passed Phase 1 testing from the Department of Energy and should be able to deliver an "SOFC power system capable of 40 percent or greater efficiency at a factory cost of $400 per kilowatt" once refined and passed through Phase 3 testing.
The DOE is pushing SOFCs as a way "to generate electrical power more cleanly and efficiently for a wide variety of stationary and mobile power applications." Delphi says that, "heavy-duty trucks will be able to utilize SOFC auxiliary power systems for both heat and electrical power when parked, to save 85 percent of the fuel that today they consume when idling their main engine, and likewise reduce idling emissions." SOFCs won't reduce all our energy use by 85 percent, but there are a lot of idling trucks out there.
[Source: Delphi Corporation]