A method for converting fuel energy to electricity includes the steps of converting a higher molecular weight gas into at least one mixed gas stream of lower average molecular weight including at least a first lower molecular weight gas and a second gas, the first and second gases being different gases, wherein the first lower molecular weight gas comprises H.sub.2 and the second gas comprises CO. The mixed gas is supplied to at least one turbine to produce electricity. The mixed gas stream is divided after the turbine into a first gas stream mainly comprising H.sub.2 and a second gas stream mainly comprising CO. The first and second gas streams are then electrochemically oxidized in separate fuel cells to produce electricity. A nuclear reactor can be used to supply at least a portion of the heat the required for the chemical conversion process.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 between the United States Department of Energy and UT-Battelle, LLC.