Bloom Energy has filed a patent for a solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) system that includes a stack of electrolyzer cells and a steam recycle blower. The system is designed to receive steam and generate a hydrogen and steam exhaust stream, with a portion of the exhaust stream being recycled back to the stack. GlobalData’s report on Bloom Energy gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData s company profile on Bloom Energy, polymer electrolyte fuel cells was a key innovation area identified from patents. Bloom Energy's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Solid oxide electrolyzer cell system with steam recycling

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Bloom Energy Corp

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230183874A1) describes a solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) system. The system includes a stack of electrolyzer cells that receive steam and generate a hydrogen and steam exhaust stream. Additionally, a steam recycle blower is included in the system to recycle a portion of the hydrogen and steam exhaust stream back to the stack.

The SOEC system also features a cathode exhaust cooler heat exchanger, which cools the hydrogen and steam exhaust stream using an air conduit stream provided to the stack. This heat exchanger can be located either upstream or downstream from the recycle blower. Furthermore, a splitter is included in the system to supply a portion of the hydrogen and steam exhaust to the steam recycle blower. In one configuration, a cathode exhaust cooler heat exchanger is located upstream of the splitter.

The stack of electrolyzer cells in the SOEC system is designed to receive both steam and hydrogen. However, during steady-state operation, the stack ceases to receive hydrogen. It is configured to receive hydrogen only during startup, shutdown, or when the system is not producing hydrogen.

The method of operating the SOEC system involves receiving steam at the stack of electrolyzer cells and generating a hydrogen and steam exhaust stream. A portion of this exhaust stream is then recycled back to the stack using a steam recycle blower. The method also includes cooling the exhaust stream using a cathode exhaust cooler heat exchanger, which can be located upstream or downstream from the recycle blower. A splitter is used to supply a portion of the exhaust to the steam recycle blower, and in one configuration, a cathode exhaust cooler heat exchanger is located upstream of the splitter.

Similar to the system, the method also involves the stack of electrolyzer cells receiving both steam and hydrogen. However, during steady-state operation, the stack ceases to receive hydrogen and only receives steam. Hydrogen is supplied to the stack during startup, shutdown, or when the system is not producing hydrogen.

Overall, this patent describes a solid oxide electrolyzer cell system and method that efficiently recycles a portion of the hydrogen and steam exhaust stream, while also providing cooling through a cathode exhaust cooler heat exchanger. The system is designed to operate with both steam and hydrogen, but the stack of electrolyzer cells only receives hydrogen during specific operational phases.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies