Date of Award


Degree Type



Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Keys, L. Kenneth

Subject Headings

Systems engineering, Solid oxide fuel cells, Fuel cells, Systems Engineering, Systems Development, Reference Model, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Fuel Cells, Commercialization


This research was done because today the Fuel Cell (FC) Industry is still in its infancy in spite over one-hundred years of development has transpired. Although hundreds of fuel cell developers, globally have been spawned, in the last ten to twenty years, only a very few are left struggling with their New Product Development (NPD). The entrepreneurs of this type of disruptive technology, as a whole, do not have a systems engineering 'roadmap", or template, which could guide FC technology based power system development efforts to address a more environmentally friendly power generation. Hence their probability of achieving successful commercialization is generally, quite low. Three major problems plague the fuel cell industry preventing successful commercialization today. Because of the immaturity of FC technology and, the shortage of workers intimately knowledgeable in FC technology, and the lack of FC systems engineering, process developmental knowledge, the necessity for a commercialization process model becomes evident. This thesis presents a six-phase systems engineering developmental reference model for new product development of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Power System. For this work, a stationary SOFC Power System, the subject of this study, was defined and decomposed into a subsystems hierarchy using a Part Centric Top-Down, integrated approach to give those who are familiar with SOFC Technology a chance to learn systems engineering practices. In turn, the examination of the SOFC mock-up could gave those unfamiliar with SOFC Technology a chance to learn the basic, technical fundamentals of fuel cell development and operations. A detailed description of the first two early phases of the systems engineering approach to design and development provides the baseline system engineering process details to create a template reference model for the remaining four phases. The NPD reference template model's systems engineering process, philosophy and design tools are presented in great detail. Lastly, the thesis