Dustin McLarty, WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

PULLMAN, Wash. – Dustin McLarty, a Ph.D. in WSU’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, received a $678,014 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy to further hybrid power systems research.

By developing hybrid power systems using pressurized solid oxide fuel cells, McLarty’s proposed system design will increase the flexibility of the system during operation and lowers costs while still exceeding the DOE’s efficiency targets. If successful, this new hybrid power system would bridge the natural gas powered energy industry of today with the all-renewable energy systems of the future.

“The difference between a traditional fuel cell and the solid oxide fuel cell is what you can do with it, such as co-producing hydrogen and natural gas,” McLarty explained. “This makes it a technology that works as a generator today and grid scale energy storage for renewable energy in the future.”

This grant is part of the DOE’s Innovative Natural-Gas Technologies for Efficiency Gain in Reliable and Affordable Thermochemical Electricity-Generation (INTEGRATE). INTEGRATE seeks to build highly flexible and efficient energy solutions to dramatically increase grid efficiency, reduce cost and add resilience.  WSU is one of eight institutions that received a total of $16 million in grants for energy-centered research projects.