Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: Worldwide Energy, LLC, licenses ORNL fuel cell technology

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 28, 2005 — Worldwide Energy, LLC, today announced an agreement to develop and commercialize an advanced solid oxide fuel cell technology developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The exclusive patent licensing agreement with Worldwide Energy, based in Butte, Montana, seeks to capitalize on a number of key advantages of this advanced solid oxide fuel cell technology, which is easily manufactured at low cost from commonly available materials. ORNL innovations include a metallic support structure that also serves as the interconnection, which dramatically simplifies the design of this fuel cell

Fuel cells are seen as a "green" source of power because they use hydrogen to produce electricity with water as the only byproduct. Because of their design, solid oxide fuel cells have significantly lower costs to manufacture and increased product life. These fuel cells operate at high temperature, which enables them to achieve high fuel efficiency ideally suited for combined heat and power applications. They are among the most promising fuel cells for stationary distributed power generation.

"The consumer purchasing a Worldwide Energy solid oxide fuel cell will no longer have to purchase both electricity and natural gas or fuel oil for their heating systems," said Paul Torgerson, Chief Executive Officer of Worldwide Energy. "The consumer will purchase only the fuel supply for the fuel cell and gain free exhaust heat -- as a byproduct of power generation -- for thermal applications such as heating, air conditioning, water purification and process steam."

"This technology has the potential to significantly reduce the stack cost below $100/kW allowing Worldwide Energy to meet the DOE cost targets for $400/kW for the fuel cell power plant," said Dr. Tim Armstrong.

Dr. Roddie Judkins, Director of the Fossil Energy Program at ORNL, says "We are very pleased to have worked with Worldwide Energy in this development. Our progress to date is excellent. Prospects for an economical and very high quality fuel cell are outstanding." Judkins and Armstrong are the principal ORNL inventors of this technology.

Research agreements are in place through 2009, and Worldwide Energy expects first-generation commercial products to be shipped in 2010.

Worldwide Energy is an investor-funded private startup company. ORNL is Managed by UT Battelle, LLC, for the U. S. Department of Energy under Contract No DE-AC05-00OR22725.