Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Development Partner for High-power-density SOFCs

Request Number
Due Date
Feb 12
Program Manager

Joint/contract development, licensing


1) Establish large area, full-format solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) technology and develop the primitive concept for SOFC stack design: Within 2 years
2) Develop, evaluate, validate prototype for shorter SOFC stacks (~40cells): Within 4 years


Budget for joint development already secured (details open to negotiation based on proposals)


How to  Apply

  • Click on "Respond", complete the form to the extent possible, and submit along with other attachment files available. 
  • After creating your account for NineSights, your draft will be automatically saved and you can resume later from "Control Center". Please note you do not submit confidential information at this process.
  • This request for proposals in PDF format is available here



If you have any questions or request, please feel free to contact us at: 

RFP was closed on
Mar 2019

RFP Title


Development Partner for High-power-density SOFCs
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing a major manufacturer, seeks a partner to develop high-power-density solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) stack. We are particularly looking for (a) technology to increase the size of metal-supported cells; (b) technology to prevent gas leakage from the edge of sintered porous metal substrate; (c) technology to reduce area specific resistance; and (d) repeat unit and stack design that improves the power density of stacks. The Client is willing to share, as necessary, their insights and resources with the selected partner for expediting the development. In particular, the Client has significant experience with lab-scale metal-supported cells.


Metal-supported solid oxide fuel cells (MS-SOFCs) has the features of excellent power generation efficiency, fuel flexibility superior start-up and thermal shock resistance. MS-SOFCs are expected to as a common choice for use in the power-generation systems for data centers and as a backup power supply and a battery to be loaded on battery integrated transportation. The Client has been working on the development of MS-SOFCs, yet their commercialization requires an even higher power density, and a breakthrough is critical in the performance of cells and stacks. Meanwhile, the development of SOFCs and their materials is widely performed around the world. The Client has therefore decided to make this RFP to further accelerate the research and development endeavors of their own selves.

Key Success Criteria

Aims of SOFC stack

  • Applications: cogeneration system, power supply for data center, backup power supply within plants, battery integrated transportation, etc.
  • Power density: 1.5–2.5 kW/L
    • Performance per cell: 0.5 W/cm²
    • Fuel type: reformate  (preferably, internal reforming)
    • Planar cell/stack
    • Temperature during power generation: 500–650°C
  • Size: Active area of approx. 200-250 cm²; height of approx. 40–50 cm
  • Superior thermal shock resistance during operation
  • Cell frame assembly meets the following:
    • Area Specific Resistance (ASR): ≤50 mohm-cm² (preferably around 10 mohm-cm²)
    • Low fuel gas leakage from the edge of  sintered porous metal substrate: Preferably ≤10 mL/h of He leakage under a differential pressure of several kPa


Technology requirements 

  • A) For larger, full-format SOFC technology
    • The following criteria should be attained using metal-supported cells (sintered porous metal):
      • Active area: 200–250 cm2
      • Materials: ferritic stainless steel
    • The process recipe for prototype cells will be provided by the Client
  • B) For cell-frame assembly technology:
    • Technology to prevent gas leakage from the edge of sintered porous metal substrate:
      • Sealing, densification, frame welding, etc.
    • Technology to reduce ASR:
      • Improvement in the composition, structure, and shape of interconnect materials, or their coating
      • Welding of the interconnect material and sintered porous metal
      • Improvement in the composition of the contact material and its application process
  • C) For cell-frame assembly stacking technology:
    • Performance based design to improve the power density of SOFC stack considering the components thickness reduction and/or temperature distributions
    • Structural design to achieve the above-mentioned design aims in addition to desired strengths.


Proposer requirements

  • Evaluate the cell and stack performance
  • Capacity for mass-production is not required at this point; however, a proposer should be able to prototype and supply cell and stack at research/development phase
  • A proposer should preferably be able to handle the entire series of technologies under A) through C) above: however, we would welcome proposals on single elemental technologies within A-C).
Items to be Submitted

Please include the following items in your proposal:

  • Type of proposed technology (cell size increasing, leakage prevention, reduction of area specific resistance, and power density improvement)
  • Characteristics, principle, and uniqueness of proposed technology
  • Development stage: performance verified at a lab level, technology currently being established, or implemented for practical use

    Current performance (please provide information on the relevant type(s) of your proposed technology)
  • Increasing the cell size:
    • Facilities owned (e.g. reduction firing furnace, tape casting machine, screen printer, etc.)
    • Materials and sizes covered by the technology
    • Experience in prototyping / power generation (including type(s) and size(s) of cells)
  • Prevention of fuel gas leakage from the edge of sintered porous metal substrate
    • cell-to-cell sealing (experience in sealing technology for preventing internal and external leakage)
    • Amount of leakage reduction and conditions with sealing technology above
  • Reduction of ASR:
    • Amount of ASR (resistance between cells) and conditions (e.g. sample specifications, evaluation conditions)
    • the presence or absence of the laser welding technology
  • Improvement of power density of stacks
    • Experience in stacking of fuel cells  (number of cell layers, and method for sealing and assembling)
    • Number of cells / cell dimensions, stack output, etc.
    • Experience in technology for performance/structure analysis (numerical analysis)

  • Facilities for the evaluation of fuel cells/stacks (capability of measuring electric current, voltage range, and impedance)
  • Conditions for cell/stack prototyping and sample testing (e.g. cost, period, contract terms)
  • Current challenges and future development plans
  • Potential for scale-up
  • Past results (e.g. research papers, patents)


Notes on Response

Proposal shall have clear points and should not include confidential information. Supplemental files may be submitted in addition to the proposal.


Response evaluation

The client will evaluate all responses with the following criteria.

  • Overall scientific and technical merit
  • Approach to proof of concept or performance
  • Economic potential of concept
  • Realism of the proposed plan (action items, timeline, roles, deliverables, cost estimation)
  • Potential for proprietary position
  • Respondents’ capability and related experiences


Anticipated Project Process

After the submission due date, the client will review all submitted proposals. NineSigma will send the review results to each proposer 6-8 weeks after the due date. The client possibly asks clarifying questions before selecting the most suitable candidates for collaboration. The client will select best candidates through evaluations. During the selection process, the client may execute NDA with selected respondents, seek further information disclosure, and discuss specific development targets or potential opportunities.

The client will execute necessary agreements with the selected respondents and move to the advanced development phase. Specifics of any collaboration will be determined through consultation with the concerned parties.

Area of Interest