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European Partnership

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Clean Hydrogen Partnership

Working towards Mass Manufactured, Low Cost and Robust SOFC stacks

Key Objectives of the project

The project addresses a novel design solution for lightweight SOFC stacks that decouples the thermal stresses within the stack and at the same time allows optimal sealing and contacting. In this way the capability for thermal cycling is enhanced and degradation of contacting reduced.

The design is highly suitable for industrial manufacturing and automated assembly. The industrial partners will build up the necessary tools and appliances for low cost production of repeating units and the automated quality control, stacking and assembly of stacks.

Challenges/issues addressed

Lightweight SOFC stacks are currently being developed for stationary applications such as residential CHP units, for automotive applications such as APU and for portable devices. They supply electrical efficiencies of up to 60%, high fuel flexibility, being able to operate on syn-gas from Diesel reforming as well as LPG, methane or hydrogen, and promising costs due to greatly reduced amounts of steel interconnect material.

In mobile and portable applications the requirements for thermal cycling are high. It is therefore essential that lightweight stacks have excellent thermal cycling and rapid start-up capabilities.

Technical approach/objectives

The stack design perused here supplies a compensation of thermo-mechanical stresses between cell and cell frame / repeating unit. Thin steel sheets with protective coating are used for the sake of cost reduction and extended stack lifetime, also for stationary applications.

The project looks into various facets of improved components (sealing, interconnects, contacting, cells) from the point of view of cheap mass manufacturing and automated assembly.

Key milestones include


Design Freeze D1.0

Start of long-term testing

Design Freeze D2.0

Expected socio and economic impact

The project’s main impacts are on quality production of SOFC stacks for stationary and also mobile applications and cost reduction of such stacks. With both these goals combined a major contribution will be made to lower the cost of fuel cell products as well as supplying components robust enough for everyday use in the hands of ‘normal’ consumers. This support to the case of market introduction of fuel cells in Europe will also lead to socio-economic effects of increased industrial competitiveness, increased numbers of employment in this sector and a leading edge of European manufacturing consortia over international competitors.


SP1-JTI-FCH.2010.3.2: Next generation cell and stack designs


University of Birmingham, United Kingdom



Other participating organisations:

Name Country
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH Germany
BORIT Belgium
Rohwedder Micro Assembly GmbH Germany
CSIC Spain
Bekaert Belgium
Turbocoating Italy
Solidpower SpA Italy