A solid oxide fuel cell system small enough for the average homeowner could offer a new environmentally-friendly source of on-demand power.
Researchers at Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed the small-scale system with the homeowner in mind. Powered by natural gas, it is able to generate between 1 and 100 kilowatts of power while achieving up to 57 percent efficiency, which is a great improvement over the current systems' efficiency ratings of 30 to 50 percent. The system could be used to power a single home or even entire neighborhoods.
Previously, most solid oxide fuel cells have either been designed with the idea of replacing traditional power plants or are too expensive for the average homeowner to afford.