Finding. The Vision 21 Roadmap for fuel cell technology identifies performance and cost goals for the various components of a high-temperature fuel cell energy system. The roadmap also lists the barriers to reaching each of these goals. The Vision 21 fuel cell program includes four fuel cell plants as its main milestones. The overall Vision 21 programs in gasification, gas processing and separation, gas turbines, materials, modeling, systems computations, etc., have elements that may pertain to fuel cell energy systems.
Recommendation. The U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory Vision 21 fuel cell program plan and schedule should incorporate milestones in addition to the current four milestones, each of which represents the construction and operation of a high-temperature fuel cell power-generation plant. The additional milestones should deal with (1) removal of significant barriers to program success identified in the fuel cell roadmap and (2) accomplishment of significant steps in preparation for plant construction and operation, including developments, tests, designs, and evaluations of performance and costs for both the demonstration plant and the projected commercial plant. To the extent possible, the milestones should include quantitative measures as criteria for successful achievement, such as overall capital and operating costs of the projected commercial plant.