Innovative SOFC system layout for stationary power and CHP applications
The aim of the project is to develop a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) prototype of a new SOFC concept with a serial connection of one exothermal CPOx stage with one or a multiple of endothermic steam reforming stages. The system will combine the benefits of the simple and robust CPOx layout with the high efficiencies obtained by the steam reforming process. It requires two reforming stages that are both operated adiabatically so that the system can be kept simple and compact. Furthermore, a staged cathode air supply allows an individual control of stack temperatures and saving of costly heat exchanger area.
Based on a successful lab-type proof of feasibility, a PoC system will be developed that achieves an electrical efficiency of at least 45 % and a thermal efficiency of higher than 85 %. The system will be designed for small-scale CHP and off-grid applications in the power range of 5 to 50 kW. It will be operated with natural gas, but also options for operation with biogas and LPG will be investigated. A techno-economical study will validate business cases and derive requirements from the application side that have a large impact into the design of the system.
The projects targets at the development of a 5 kWel PoC prototype that will show the feasibility of the staged stack connection within a compact, production optimized, scalable and robust system concept. The prototype will be operated according to the load profiles that are derived from the application. Critical components like adiabatic pre-reformer, power electronics and the design of a compact hotbox are addressed within the project. The Proof-of-Concept prototype should reach a maturity that allows a fast evolution to a field test system.
The PoC design is based on a preliminary exploitation plan that takes into account a potential market size and a viable route-to-market. Detailed techno-economic investigations will be performed in order to assess the best business cases for the proposed product.
Simulation, Statistics and Experiments Coupled to develop Optimized aNd Durable μCHP systems using ACcelerated Tests.
Second act aims at improving understanding of stack degradation in order to propose solutions enabling significant lifetime improvements for µCHP systems using PEMFC or DMFC technology. Project will be thus founded and focused on two efforts: degradation understanding and durability improvement. These efforts will be oriented towards existing systems available in the project thanks to the involvement of three industry partners willing to enhance lifetime and hence competiveness for market deployment. Degradation investigations will be based on lifetime tests information from existing field tests on these systems for relevant description of failure modes and related performance degradation; from stack and cells specific degradation/durability tests including validated accelerated stress tests emphasizing specific degradation or failure modes in cells and stacks. Understanding will be ensured by using expertise of research groups in different techniques such as: advanced in-situ local measurements to identify heterogeneities and local performance degradation; ex-situ investigations of components to identify mechanisms; statistical analyses to identify the impact of failure modes and to relate causes to performance losses; and modelling to simulate local performance and degradation in unit cell and stack.
Durability improvement will be assessed thanks to the following methodology: exploitation of all degradation investigations for the proposal of components modifications; selection of most relevant solutions related to most critical degradation issues for their evaluation and demonstration of durability improvements; application of validated accelerated tests with improved components in unit cells or stacks to demonstrate improvement; and final achievement will be reached with the demonstration of significant measurable improvement at system level.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
New all-European high-performance stack: design for mass production
This project combines European know-how in single cells, coatings, sealing, and stack design to produce a novel 1 kW SOFC stack of unprecedented performance, together with the proof of concept of a 10 kWe SOFC stack. Improvements over the state of the art in cost, performance, efficiency, and reliability will be proven, covering all top-level objectives mentioned in the topic. The stacks will be developed according to system integrators’ requirements guided by an industrial steering group. The target application of the development is stationary and residential combined heat and power production based on natural gas, and will form the basis for Elcogen Oy’s commercial SOFC stack technology. All manufacturing methods, stack designs, and materials are chosen so that they are suitable for mass production and enable 1000 €/kW profitable stack price, which is a significant improvement to current state of the art. These methods, designs, and materials have been demonstrated successfully in small-scale and require the scale-up to suit manufacturing of 10 kWe SOFC stacks. For example, high performance of Elcogen cells and short stacks were already demonstrated with 100x100 mm2 cell size, but in this project cells and stack will be further improved and scaled up to larger 120x120 mm2 size.
The project is based on the products of industrial partners and motivated by their interest to consolidate an optimized supply-chain and subsequently commercialize a high-performance product at very sharp prices. To this effect, the activity will pay great attention to designing the stack for mass production processes. One industrial partner is involved for each key function: Elcogen AS (cells), Elcogen Oy (stack assembly and production), Sandvik (interconnects and coatings), and Flexitallic Ltd (sealing). Selected research institutions complete the partnership to focus the development process towards a reliable product.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Advanced m-CHP fuel CELL system based on a novel bio-ethanol Fluidized bed membrane reformer
FLUIDCELL aims the Proof of Concept of an advanced high performance, cost effective bio-ethanol m-CHP FC system for decentralized off-grid, by improving technology developments from previous EU projects. The improvements will be achieved by development of a) better system integration using a fluidized bed catalytic membrane reactor working at low temperature (<500°C) b)innovative materials; Pd pore filled (PdPF) membrane, low temperature autothermal ethanol steam reforming (AESR) catalysts and c) most advance FC technologies. Low temperature allows lower thermal duty, higher compactness, use of less expensive materials and long term stability.
The H2 is produced from bioethanol which is non-toxic, high energy density, easy handling fuel which can be obtained from cellulose or lignocellulose. Compared with standard AESR, the use of a membrane reactor allows operating at lower temperatures while also suppressing the methane formation via the in-situ recovery of H2. The fluidized bed system allows operating at a virtually uniform temperature which is beneficial in terms of both membrane stability and durability and for the reaction selectivity and yield; since the possible carbonaceous depositions are better exposed to contact with steam and, therefore, faster gasified; in addition, the feedstock is in contact with all the catalyst particles and the fluxes and temperatures are homogeneous, avoiding any polarization phenomena along the membrane.
The use of the H2-selective Pd membrane, as proposed in FluidCELL, can circumvent the constraint of high temperatures by shifting the equilibriums, allowing higher H2 yield at much lower temperatures. Besides, the possible detrimental erosion of the membrane produced by fluidized bed will be diminished by considering the use of PdPF membranes where Pd is located inside the nano pores of a ceramic support located below a ceramic protecting layer; this innovative membrane will be for the first time used in fluidized bed reactors.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
A Flexible natural gas membrane Reformer for m-CHP applications
The potential for fuel CHP units in Europe as a large market in the future is in general well recognised. Although the size of this market is large and is undisputed when the cost targets of m-CHP units is reached, it is often overlooked that it is a very segmented market. All micro-CHP units, as new heating appliances, will have to be certified against the Gas Appliance Directive (90/396/CE). The latest legislation in Europe and some specific countries, which is expected will be adopted by other countries will lead to a broader range of natural gas specifications per country with larger differences of natural gas qualities.
And last and most important: the gas quality is allowed to change more rapidly in time.
In future, more oxygen will be present in natural gas. Now, in Europe actions are taken (regulatory actions) to allow even more fluctuations of the gas composition in time over a day. This means that not only the fuel processor should be efficient in reforming NG to hydrogen, but should be also very robust and flexible, reducing the possibility of hot spots and low selectivity when the oxygen content increases. Within FERRET, we will design the reactor, balance of plant and revise the controls to allow the sudden change of natural gas specification that can be expected in the field in the coming years.
According to the problems mentioned above, FERRET project will:
• Design a flexible reformer in terms of catalyst, membranes and control for different natural gas compositions.
• Use hydrogen membranes to separate pure hydrogen and help shifting all the possible H2 production reactions towards the products, thus reducing side reactions.
• Scale up the new H2 selective membranes and catalysts production
• Introduce ways to improve the recyclability of the membranes.
• Integrate the novel reforming in a CHP system
• Optimize of the BoP for the novel reforming CHP system
• Simulate and optimize of the reformer integration with the entire system.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Enhanced Durability Materials for Advanced Stacks of New Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
The project aims at developing reliable predictive models to estimate long-term (i.e. > 20 kh) performance and probability of failure of SOFC stacks based on existing materials and design produced by the industrial partners. This will allow the realization of stacks with extended service intervals and reduced maintenance cost with respect to the present stack technology. The extension of service life will be supported by the introduction of Early Warning Output Signals triggered counterstrategies. The project is structured into three phases: consolidation of knowledge and refinement of models on a previously operated State of Art stack (1st Loop); enhancement of materials, design and predictive models via iterative loops (Improvement Iterative Loop); statistical validation of achieved improvements via standard and accelerated tests (Validation Process). The stack is a system of interfaces/interphases giving rise to complex phenomena that which have to be separated in single phenomena processes. The "single phenomena" are generated by the minimum of interfaces/interphases in a quasi-independent way and therefore suitable for a separate deep investigation via micro-samples studies. The improvements will be especially validated by: the application of accelerated test protocols; the evaluation of robustness of stacks and components toward load cycles and thermal cycles. The comparison with an operating not cycled stack will give the value of performance (voltage) loss for the rated stack life cycle that has to be <5% for 100 load cycles (idle to rated load) or 50 thermal cycles (room temperature to operating temperature). The outcomes will be statistically demonstrated by operating 6 stacks in standard conditions and a minimum of 3 micro-sample per interphase in standard, cycled and accelerated conditions with constant monitoring via modelling.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Diagnosis-aided control for SOFC power systems
The DIAMOND project aims at improving the performance of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) for CHP applications by implementing innovative strategies for on-board diagnosis and control. Advanced monitoring models will be developed to integrate diagnosis and control functions with the objective of having meaningful information on the actual state-of-the-health of the entire system. A holistic view over stack and BoP components can guarantee an advanced management and a comprehensive solution to the problem of achieving improved performance, maintenance scheduling, higher reliability and thus increased lifetime of the system. The underlying idea is to improve the analytical capability of current diagnosis and control algorithms, which are nowadays developed for reference prototypes without accounting systematically for production non-homogeneity, drift, wear and degradation. The analytical work and the testing activity will exploit advanced methodologies successfully applied in other advanced industrial sectors.
Two SOFC systems will be considered, namely an integrated stack module (HoTbox©) and a middle-scale CHP with conventional layout. Extensive testing will be performed to validate the diagnosis and control strategies and evaluate their effectiveness in improving management actions aimed at optimizing operating conditions and increasing lifetime.
The outcomes of the project will guarantee an increase of the SOFC system lifetime and performance. The results of DIAMOND will consolidate several modeling approaches that are the first step towards the development of prognostics tools for SOFC lifetime estimation. At industrial level, the proposed methodologies can be scaled up as the production increases without affecting manufacturing organization and costs.
A well-balanced consortium brings together a group of research institutions and industries with different experience and capabilities to apply advanced monitoring, diagnosis and control concepts to SOFC.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Manufacturing Improved Stack with Textured Surface Electrodes for Stationary and CHP Applications
MATISSE is a 36-month project targeting to the delivery of PEMFC advanced cells and stacks for stationary applications. The project methodology will include assessment of stack incremented with new materials and processes developed during the project. The project will address three stack designs for each of the stationary conditions of operation of the fuel cell i.e. H2/O2, H2/air and reformate H2/air. MATISSE intends to achieve some objectives in term of stack robustness, lifetime, performance and cost. For this purpose, advanced materials solutions will be performed and validated as proof of concept for the manufacturability of cell and stack. New textured X-Y gradient electrodes will be optimized and manufactured taking into account the localized current density of electrode inside the cell during operation. Some localized areas of catalyst loading will be defined following the risk of electrode flooding part or of membrane drying. The new MEA should lead to an increase of durability of stack and reduction of degradation phenomenon. The manufacturability of cells and stack will be demonstrated with the electrode manufacturing using a continuous screen printing process and by the automatization of the membrane electrodes assembly step. Moreover, an automatized robot will be used to proceed at stack assembly allowing reaching a better mechanical stability under pressure and a better alignment of components. This work will allow reducing the cost so as to meet the market target allowing a large deployment of stationary PEMFC system. The technical-economic cost assessment will be carried out during the project in order to confirm the progression of MATISSE stack technology toward the objectives. MATISSE consortium is based on 3 industrial partners recognized at the international level for their activities in stationary application. 2 RTO centres play part in the project to develop and assess new innovative solutions on LT-PEMFC MEA and stacks technology.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Demonstration of a combined heat and power 2 MWe PEM fuel cell generator and integration into an existing chlorine production plant
The project DEMCOPEM-2MW is to design, construct and demonstrate an economical combined heat and power PEM fuel cell power plant (2 MW electrical power and 1.5 MW heat) and integration into a chlor-alkali (CA) production plant. A chlor-alkali production plant produces chlorine and caustic soda (lye) and high purity hydrogen. The hydrogen contains almost 45% of the energy that is consumed in the plant. In many cases this hydrogen is vented. The project will demonstrate the PEM Power Plant technology for converting the hydrogen into electricity, heat and water for use in the chlor-alkali production process, lowering its electricity consumption by 20%.
The partners have relevant experience in long life high efficient PEM power plant systems in hazardous environments like a chlor-alkali plant.
The PEM power plant will be fully integrated into the chlorine production unit and will also be remotely controlled. The water produced by the oxidation of hydrogen is also used. To reduce the (maintenance) cost of the integrated plant special emphasis is put on the longevity of the fuel cells (especially membranes, electrodes and catalyst) and to lower the manufacturing costs. The design is optimized for minimal energy loss. Extensive diagnostics and data acquisition are incorporated to monitor the performance.
The demonstration will take place in China as this is the ideal starting point for the market introduction. High electricity prices (up to 2 times higher than in Europe), 50% of the chlor-alkali world production and rationing of electricity all contribute to the business case.
A successful demonstration will pave the way for the roll out of the technology, staged cost efficiencies and further self-sustained market and technology developments.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Understanding the Degradation Mechanisms of a High Temperature PEMFC Stack and Optimization of the Individual Components
The activities of the DeMStack project will be on the stack optimization and construction based on the high temperature MEA technology of ADVENT S.A. and its long term stability testing in combination with a fuel processor. DeMStack aims to enhance the lifetime and reduce the cost of the overall HT PEMFC technology by integrating promising, already developed materials for electrodes and membranes in an existing stack design. By understanding the fundamentals of the failure mechanisms, we can improve components, and design and develop system approaches to mitigate the failures. The strategy aims at improvements based on degradation studies and materials development carried out in previous and ongoing projects (FCH JU DEMMEA 245156) so that they will lead to a reliable cost-effective product that fulfils all prerequisites for relevant field uses.
These improvements cope with degradation issues related to catalyst utilization, reformate feed contaminants, uniform diffusivity and distribution of reacting gases in the catalytic layer, pinhole development due to local high current density spots, H3PO4 acid depletion and distribution within the MEA, startup-stop and thermal cycles. The ultimate aim of DeMStack is to deliver HT PEMFC components for operation temperatures at 180oC and up to 200oC. Mainly optimized long lasting polymer electrolytes, stable Pt based electrocatalysts with minimal Pt loads and effective architectures of flow fields on bipolar plates will be explored.
DeMStack will design, manufacture and test under variable conditions a highly efficient, low-cost HT PEMFC 1 kW stack prototype constructed from the optimized components. A fuel processor will also be constructed, operating on natural gas or LPG, which will be combined and integrated with the fuel cell stack. The robustness of the stack, the simplicity of BoP, the operational stability and the user friendly operation of the integrated system into a commercially reliable product, will be demonstrated
Demonstration of 500 kWe alkaline fuel cell system with heat capture
Alkaline fuel cells represent an efficient, sustainable and cost effective method for the generation of electrical power from hydrogen. AFC Energy (AFCEN) and Air Products (AIRP) are collaborating on a five year project to generate electrical power from a fuel cell system running on un-treated industrial waste hydrogen Air Products’ hydrogen plant in Stade (Lower Saxony, Germany).
The project will demonstrate, for the first time, the automated, scaled-up manufacture of a competitive 500 kWe alkaline fuel cell system from cost-effective and recyclable components over a period of up to 51 months. AFCEN’s modular system is designed to operate continuously within the confines of the end-user’s real-world operational schedules, and output at the Stade site will be gradually incremented over 2 stages. This installation will feature a new balance of plant design which includes heat capture and is containerised. Assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts of the project will be made to provide a wider context. Results will be widely disseminated to increase awareness both within the field and outside.
The knowledge gained during the project will increase knowledge in the field beyond the state of the art and provide additional knowledge in recycling and manufacturing. Each partner brings considerable expertise and resource to the project through use of existing personnel and equipment. This project not only represents an opportunity to exploit the fuel cell on an industrial scale but will also serve as a shop window for the entire fuel cell industry, not only for AFCEN. This will lead to wider economic benefits giving considerable economic value over and above the monetary cost. The consortium intends this project to demonstrate the fuel cell to be a critical technology to meet future energy needs in a sustainable and cost effective way.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Ammonia-fuelled alkaline fuel cells for remote power applications
In project ALKAMMONIA a proof-of-concept system designed to provide power in remote applications will be developed and tested. The project will integrate three innovative and proven technologies: a highly efficient and low-cost alkaline fuel cell system, a highly efficient and catalytically heated ammonia processing system and a novel solid state ammonia storage system. The integrated system will be rigorously tested, CE certification will be achieved, and the results will be shared with leading telecommunication end-users. Project ALKAMMONIA will demonstrate significant cost savings compared to the most common current method of remote power generation, i.e. diesel generators as well as to the most common fuel-cell solution in the sector: PEM fuel cells. The ALKAMMONIA system will also completely avoid local emissions. A proof-of-concept system will be developed, built, tested and thoroughly assessed. A Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) has been set up to play a pivotal role in this project (the SAB currently comprises Vodafone (UK) and Recova Energy (India) and the FAST-EHA will work on extending the SAB during the project) and has already advised the partners in defining the projects objectives. It will provide the consortium with first-hand information on end-user requirements and will enable the partners to respond to feedback from potential early adopters of the technology. The consortium comprises a system integrator (UPS Systems plc), a fuel cell stack developer (AFC Energy plc, Coordinator), a component developer and supplier (Amminex A/S) and a specialist in fuel cell CE marking (ZBT GmbH), among others. The consortium brings together a vast amount of experience and expertise in the areas of fuel cell development and research, fuel processing as well as system integration. The partners believe that this consortium is ideally suited to achieve the ambitious targets set out in this proposal and maximise its impact beyond the duration of the project.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Steel Coatings For Reducing Degradation in SOFC
The economic viability and market place entry of SOFC power systems is directly dependent on their longevity and production costs. Adequate operational life spans can only be achieved, if the performance degradation of the SOFC stacks and Balance of Plant components over time can be considerably reduced. At the same time, manufacturing costs have to be lowered dramatically for the specifically necessary components securing the long component service life.
As of now, chromium deactivation of the cathode is considered one of the major contributions to the degradation of SOFC stacks. Since chromium steels, on the other hand, are an essential material in reducing stack costs, methods have to be found to make best use of their advantages whilst avoiding chromium transport to the cathode.
Balance of Plant components upstream of the cathode also contribute to the chromium immission, a fact that is often overseen and requires protective coatings also for any components situated in the air flow pathway to the cathode. Finally, the build-up of oxide scales will influence the electrical resistance and contact resistance thus requiring coatings for the stabilisation of the contacts on both cathode and anode side of the SOFC cell.
Within the project Real-SOFC first steps have been made towards developing suitable combinations of steels and coatings. It has become apparent that any steel will require a coating in order to sufficiently reduce chromium evaporation and oxide layer build-up, and also sustain a low surface resistivity. More recently, a variety of new coating techniques have been reported that require further evaluation under SOFC relevant operating conditions.
The project proposed here aims to further elaborate on the production of coated steel components showing markedly improved properties with regard to chromium release, electrical resistivity and scale growth. The focus of ScoReD 2:0 will be on choosing optimised combinations of protective layer materials with different steel qualities (including low-cost options) and analysing the influence, practicality and cost of different methods of coating. Also in understanding which factors influence the efficacy of such coatings.
Operation of a Novel Sofc-battery Integrated hybrid for Telecommunication Energy systems
SOFCs are good energy sources to supply reliable power at steady state. Due to their slow internal electrochemical and thermodynamic characteristics, they cannot respond to electrical load transients as quickly as desired. During peak demand a battery can provide power in addition to the fuel cell, whereas the fuel cell can recharge the battery during low demand periods. The key advantage of this system architecture is that the fuel cell is operated without major load variations close to constant load resulting in longer lifetime and thus reducing total costs of operation.
The realization of a hybrid system, capable of connecting production and storage devices on the one hand, and of managing and controlling the energy and its exchange with the power grid on the other hand, represents the synergy of some innovative technologies, but already commercially available. The overall objective of ONSITE is the construction and operation of a containerized system, based on SOFC/ZEBRA battery hybridisation, that generates more than 20 kW at high efficiency and economically competitive costs. High Temperature ZEBRA batteries (NaNiCl) are intrinsically maintenance free, show long life and are fully recyclable. The choice of this kind of technology aims at exchanging thermal energy between the two devices, in order to enhance the total efficiency of the final system, as well. The natural gas (optionally LPG) operated SOFC and the ZEBRA battery will be thermally integrated. Both will provide power for TLC energy stations. Basic research will be pursued on SOFC stacks to reach FCH JU targets in terms of efficiency, duration and costs. On top of these activities, detailed analyses of final proof-of-concept life cycle cost and total cost of ownership are foreseen. The thermal energy (waste heat) of the system can be applied for heating purposes as well as for cooling applying, e.g. an absorption cooling system. The system demonstration will take place at Ericsson as a real TLC site.
Production and Reliability Oriented SOFC Cell and Stack Design
This project aims at improving the robustness, manufacturability, efficiency and cost of Fuel Cell’s state-of-the-art SOFC stacks so as to reach market entry requirements. We propose a focused project addressing the key issues that have manifested themselves in the course of the ongoing product development efforts at Topsoe Fuel Cell A/S (TOFC). The key issues are the mechanical robustness of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), and the delicate interplay between cell properties, stack design, and operating conditions of the SOFC stack.
The novelty of the project lies in combining state of the art methodologies for cost-optimal reliability-based design (COPRD) with actual production optimization. To achieve the COPRD beyond state of the art multi-physical modelling concepts must be developed and validated for significantly improved understanding of the production and operation of SOFC stacks. The key to this understanding is validating experiments and models on multiple levels of the SOFC system and introduction of extensive test programs specified by the COPRD methodology.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
System Automation of PEMFCs with Prognostics and Health management for Improved Reliability and Economy
The SAPPHIRE project will develop an integrated prognostics and health management system (PHM) including a health-adaptive controller to extend the lifetime and increase the reliability of heat and power-producing systems based on low-temperature proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (LT-PEMFC).
The PHM system can actively track the current health and degradation state of the fuel-cell system, and through the health-adaptive control counteract the degradation of cells and balance of plant, and thereby boost the lifetime of the controlled system beyond the current lifetime expectancy. An important part of project is to develop novel prognostics approaches implemented in the PHM for estimation of the remaining useful life (RUL) of the PEMFC.
An efficient sensor configuration for control will be chosen using controllability analysis methods, also including indirect sensing/estimation techniques to replace expensive measurement principles. Based on sensor inputs and input from the control system, the PHM algorithms identify the probable failure modes trajectories and estimate the remaining useful life. The consortium’s competence ranges from first principles estimation, to signal processing, regression and data-driven techniques, such as neural networks. This ensures an efficient choice of methods.
The project covers a full cycle of research activities, from requirement specification and laboratory experiments, through study of degradation phenomena and selection of prognostic methods, to synthesis of the control system and its testing on the target PEMFC system. A technical-economical analysis will be performed in order to assess the impact of the developed tool in terms of lifetime improvement.
The project is expected to produce hardware and software solutions and have a significant scientific output. The implemented solutions resulting from the project will be tested and validated by the research and industrial partners.
Construction of Improved HT-PEM MEAs and Stacks for Long Term Stable Modular CHP Units
The vision of the CISTEM project is to develop a new fuel cell (FC) based CHP technology, which is suitable for fitting into large scale peak shaving systems in relation to wind mills, natural gas and SMART grid applications. The technology should be integrated with localized power/heat production in order to utilize the heat from the FC via district heating and should deliver an electrical output of up to 100kW. Additionally the CHP system should be fuel flexible by use of natural gas or use of hydrogen and oxygen which can be provided by electrolysis. This gives the additional opportunity to store electrical energy in case of net overproduction by production of hydrogen and oxygen for use in the CHP system and gives an additional performance boost for the fuel cell.
The main idea of the project is a combined development of fuel cell technology and CHP system design. This gives the opportunity to develop an ideal new fuel cell technology for the special requirements of a CHP system in relation to efficiency, costs and lifetime. On the other hand the CHP system development can take into account the special advantages and disadvantages of the new fuel cell technology to realize an optimal system design.
The purpose of the CISTEM project is to show a proof of concept of high temperature PEM (HT-PEM) MEA technology for large combined heat and power (CHP) systems. A CHP system of 100 kWel will be set up and demonstrated. These CHP system size is suitable for district heat and power supply. The system will be build up modularly, with FC units of each 5 kWel output. This strategy of numbering up will achieve an optimal adaption of the CHP system size to a very wide area of applications, e.g. different building sizes or demands for peak shaving application.
Within CISTEM at least two 5 kWel modules will be implemented as hardware; the remaining 18 modules will be implemented as emulated modules in a hardware in the loop (HIL) test bench. The advantages of the 5 kW modular units are: suitable for mass production at lower production costs, higher system efficiency due to optimized operation of each unit, maintenance “on the run”, stability and reliability of the whole system. With the help of the HIL approach different climate conditions representing the European-wide load profiles can be emulated in detail. Furthermore, interfaces to smart grid application will be prepared.
Increased electrical efficiency for the FC will be obtained by the utilization of oxygen from the electrolyser which is normally wasted, as well as by general improvement of the FCs. Besides, the overall energy efficiency will also be improved by utilization of the produced heat in the district heating system. The latter is facilitated by high working temperature of the HT-PEM FC (i.e. 140 - 180˚C).
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Innovative SOFC Architecture based on Triode Operation
The development of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) operating on hydrocarbon fuels (natural gas, biofuel,LPG) is the key to their short to medium term broad commercialization. The development of direct HC SOFCs still meets lot of challenges and problems arising from the fact that the anode materials operate under severe conditions leading to low activity towards reforming and oxidation reactions, fast deactivation due to carbon formation and instability due to the presence of sulphur compounds. Although research on these issues is intensive, no major technological breakthroughs have been so far with respect to robust operation, sufficient lifetime and competitive cost.
T-CELL proposes a novel electrochemical approach aiming at tackling these problems by a comprehensive effort to define, explore, characterize, develop and realize a radically new triode approach to SOFC technology together with a novel, advanced architecture for cell and stack design. This advance will be accomplished by means of an integrated approach based both on materials development and on the deployment of an innovative cell design that permits the effective control of electrocatalytic activity under steam or dry reforming conditions. The novelty of the proposed work lies in the pioneering effort to apply Ni-modified materials electrodes of proven advanced tolerance, as anodic electrodes in SOFCs and in the exploitation of our novel triode SOFC concept which introduces a new controllable variable into fuel cell operation.
In order to provide a proof of concept of the stackability of triode cells, a triode SOFC stack consisting of at least 4 repeating units will be developed and its performance will be evaluated under methane and steam co-feed, in presence of a small concentration of sulphur compound.
Success of the overall ambitious objectives of the proposed project will result in major progress beyond the current state-of-the-art and will open entirely new perspectives in cell and stack designs.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Fluid management component improvement for back up fuel cell systems
The FluMaBack (Fluid Management component improvement for Back up fuel cell systems) project aims at improving the performance, life time and cost of balance of plant (BOP) components of back up fuel cell systems specifically developed to face back-out periods of around 1,000h/year for specific markets: USA, Africa and North Europe where hard operative conditions are present (high and low temperatures). The improvement of system components addressed in this project will benefit both back-up and CHP applications.
The project focuses on new design and improvement of BOP components for utilization in PEMFC based stationary power applications, aimed at:
- improving BOP components performance, in terms of reliability;
- improving the lifetime of BOP component both at component and at a system level;
- reducing cost in a mass production perspective;
- simplifying the manufacturing/assembly process of the entire fuel cell system.
While in recent years the performance and durability of the PEMFC have increased and the cost has decreased at the same time, performance, durability and costs of BOP components have basically stayed the same. So, for improvements on performance, durability and cost of the fuel cell system, R&D dedicated on BOP components have become essential. The project is focussed on the most critical BOP components with the largest potential for performance improvement and cost reductions:
- Air and fluid flow equipment, including subcomponents and more specifically blower and recirculation pumps
- Heat exchanger
Specific targets in terms of efficiency, lifetime and cost have been pointed out for each BOP component to be developed.
The project will have a duration of 3 years to guarantee the achievement of all project targets.
The consortium consists of large and small entities which are R&D centres, BoP components developers and manufacturers, fuel cells stack and fuel cell system developers and manufacturers. Partners are located throughout the EU: Italy, Spain, The Netherland and Slovenia.
European-wide field trials for residential fuel cell micro-CHP
ene.field will deploy up to 1,000 residential fuel cell Combined Heat and Power (micro-CHP) installations, across 11 key Member States. It represents a step change in the volume of fuel cell micro-CHP (micro FC-CHP) deployment in Europe and a meaningful step towards commercialisation of the technology.
The programme brings together 9 mature European micro FC-CHP manufacturers into a common analysis framework to deliver trials across all of the available fuel cell CHP technologies. Fuel cell micro-CHP trials will be installed and actively monitored in dwellings across the range of European domestic heating markets, dwelling types and climatic zones, which will lead to an invaluable dataset on domestic energy consumption and micro-CHP applicability across Europe.
By learning the practicalities of installing and supporting a fleet of fuel cells with real customers, ene.field partners will take the final step before they can begin commercial roll-out. An increase in volume deployment for the manufacturers involved will stimulate cost reduction of the technology by enabling a move from hand-built products towards serial production and tooling.
The ene.field project also brings together over 29 utilities, housing providers and municipalities to bring the products to market and explore different business models for micro-CHP deployment.
The data produced by ene.field will be used to provide a fact base for micro FC-CHP, including a definitive environmental lifecycle assessment and cost assessment on a total cost of ownership basis.
To inform clear national strategies on micro-CHP within Member States, ene.field will establish the macro-economics and CO2 savings of the technologies in their target markets and make recommendations on the most appropriate policy mechanisms to support the commercialisation of domestic micro-CHP across Europe. Finally ene.field will assess the socio-economic barriers to widespread deployment of micro-CHP and disseminate clear position papers and advice for policy makers to encourage further roll out.
Changes to the DOW in light of the fourth amendment include:
- Beneficiary GDF SUEZ has changed its legal name to ENGIE. Descriptions of financial flows from partner manufacturers are added to the DOW as annexes;
- Considering the inclusion of new partners, units and budgets are accordingly reallocated:
o for additional units and budget: Viessmann and SOLIDPower
o for reduction of budget and number of units: RBZ, Dantherm, Hexis
- Due to a slow start in trial deployment, the deployment period for units will be extended until September 2016.
To protect the confidentiality of some of the information provided by the CHP suppliers in the project, this project description document has two sections. The first main section describes the overall intent of the project and summary information from each of the suppliers. The Addendum 1 is a selection of Letters of intent applying to the project for deployment of units from ene.field associates.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Durable Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Tri-generation system for low carbon Buildings
The project (TriSOFC) aims to develop and evaluate the performance of the first-of-its-kind LT-SOFC tri-generation system for low carbon buildings. The system is based on the integration of LT-SOFC stack and a novel liquid desiccant unit.
A 1.5kW low-cost durable LT-SOFC tri-generation prototype system will be designed optimised, constructed and tested. The tri-generation system incorporates additional components including a fuel processor, to generate reformate gas if natural-gas used as fuel, and equipment for the electrical, mechanical and control balance of plant (BoP). With high efficiency, low-cost and long–term duration in mind, all these components will be first tested in the laboratory for further optimisation and miniaturisation. The performance of the tri-generation system will be tested using the Creative Energy Homes (low/zero carbon homes) at the University of Nottingham, UK.
The tri-generation system will be used primarily in the low carbon homes/buildings. The system will be tested using natural-gas but it could be modified for use with other clean/renewable energy fuels (e.g. alcohol, biomass liquid fuel and biodiesel).
The system has the potential to reduce CO2 emission by 70% compared to a traditional energy production system comprising of separate condensate power plant, boiler and compressor-driven cooling units. The successful development of the proposed project will promote LT-SOFC applications for provision of power, heat and cooling. The commercialisation of the system will bring economic and environmental benefits to the EU.
Efficient use of resources in energy converting applications
EURECA develops the next generation of µ-CHP systems based on advanced PEM stack technology.
The idea is to overcome the disadvantages of complex gas purification, gas humidification and the low temperature gradient for the heat exchangers in a heating system. EURECA will develop a new stack generation based on PEM technology with operating temperatures of 90°C to 120°C. Thus results in a less complicated and therefore in a more robust µ-CHP system with reduced costs.
The development of a new stack generation includes various parallel working tasks. EURECA will optimize materials to operate in that temperature range – including membrane and bipolar plate materials. Also the catalyst will be improved with a lower platinum loading – design target
< 0.2g/kW. The stack design and the flow field of the bipolar plates will be optimized for the operating conditions. All development steps will be supported by state-of-the-art modeling. As the final step the developed stack will be integrated in an adapted µ-CHP system to achieve proof-of-concept in the target application.
Important part of the project is the validation of the design targets. The µ-CHP system – including the reformer – is expected to operate at an electrical efficiency of 40%. Lifetime tests with defined test procedures on single cells and short stacks will indicate a stack lifetime of approx. 12.000 h. In all development processes the partners have agreed to a design-to-cost approach. This includes the producibility in series production processes. A cost assessment will indicate the cost savings by the less complicated system.
The consortium is well balanced along the supply chain. Component suppliers and system designers are backed by research institutions. High quality of the development process is of top priority to all partners. Therefore the consortium will agree at the beginning of EURECA on specific quality and management procedures - including contingency planning measurements.
Evolved materials and innovative design for high-performance, durable and reliable SOFC cell and stack
Evolve focuses on an innovative concept for SOFC, particularly for the anode compartment, enable cell operation at reduced temperature of 750 °C. Targeting the full removal and or replacement of Nickel as electrocatalysts at the anode side by electronic conducting ceramic oxides, this concept is expected to enhance the durability and reliability of SOFC while exhibiting performance level comparable to main-stream anode-supported cells. It is thus targeted:
-to reduce the amount of Nickel in the current collector
-to replace Nickel within the Anode Functional Layer by a composite LST-CGO modified by catalysts: Co/Fe-Pd or alternatively Rh-CGO and Ru-CGO.
The main objectives of EVOLVE are:
- the demonstration at the stack level of a SOFC implementing an innovative substrate resilient toward redox cycles with higher durability than mainstreams Metal Supported Cells implementing porous ferritic stainless steel substrates and cyclability than mainstreams anode supported cells implementing the Ni based cermet.
- the identification of innovative combinations of advanced materials with reduced amount of nickel, showing improved tolerance against Sulfur poisoning compared to mainstreams nickel based cermet Anode and higher resilience against redox cycles.
The Integration and Demonstration of Large Stationary Fuel Cell Systems for Distributed Generation
Certain industries, such as chemical production or petroleum refining have been identified as producing quantities of by-product hydrogen that can be used to produce clean, load-following power on a distributed basis, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. While the chemical production industry generally acknowledges the potential value of stationary fuel cell applications, the lack of multiple megawatt-scale European reference sites is a significant barrier to widespread adoption.
The CLEARgen Demo proposal aims to address this need. DANTHERM (Denmark), supported by Ballard Power Systems (Canada), will make design improvements to the existing ClearGen(tm) system, building parts for a one-megawatt fuel cell system to meet the specific requirements of European customers. DANTHERM will also manage the project. HDF (France) will design installations, integrate, commission and operate the system at a demonstration site provided by AQUIPAC (France), validating and maintaining system performance over the duration of a two and a half year demonstration period. HDF will also realize all procedures for permitting, will prepare the site and will install facilities. JEMA (Spain) will be in charge of electrical integration of the fuel cell system to injecting electricity in the public grid. The CNRS-ICMCB (France) will be responsible for data analysis and dissemination of results. The total project duration is approximately sixty-five months.
The objectives of the CLEARgen Demo Project are:
1) The development and construction of a large scale fuel cell system, purpose-built for the European market,
2) The validation of the technical and economic readiness of the fuel cell system at the megawatt scale, and
3) The field demonstration and development of megawatt scale system at a European chemical production plant.
The demonstration site was chosen for the ability to provide a strong reference case so as to convince future operators of the relevance of large scale stationary fuel cell applications.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Solid Oxide Fuel Cell micro-CHP Field Trials
A consortium has been formed to validate solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) micro CHP technology in a real market environment. The consortium consists of a utility company, a heating system manufacturer, a fuel cell company and a software company specialising in microgeneration control systems and virtual power plants. The project consists of two phases:
Phase 1: Deployment of forty BlueGen™ 2 kWe SOFC generators with domestic hot water cylinders or thermal stores (Pathfinder systems). Subject to location a boiler upgrade may also be included
Phase 2: To design, build and deploy sixty 1-2 kWe SOFC micro-CHP units based on current prototype test systems (integrated systems with condensing boilers)
The SOFC Technology chosen has a very high electrical efficiency (initially 60% LHV) and low thermal output which allows for 24/7 operation throughout the year. Deployment of units will be in occupied residential locations with a small number also being installed in test homes to provide reference data with the existing tests of prototype units and as a baseline for the field trial systems.
The field trial demonstration will last for 36 months and provide the following outputs
- Power generation export to the grid from fully integrated Fuel Cell systems and fleet management
- Systems capable of being integrated into a future Smart Grid
- Component optimisation and supply chain development;
- Installation and field support workforce training and capability build;
- Systems capable of integrating into existing power and heat infrastructures;
- Validation of the system efficiency, cost and lifetimes compared against JTI targets;
- Identification of barriers or risks hindering full commercialisation;
- Feedback to the RD&D activities on required mitigations
- Environmental sustainability via life cycle analysis;
- Promotion of the project to a wider audience and prospective customer via website, vase studies and marketing material
Metal supported SOFC technology for stationary and mobile applications
State of the art SOFC technology for stationary as well as for transportation application is to date being demonstrated with either planar or tubular ceramic anode-supported or electrolyte-supported SOFC cells. However, the SOFC technology faces many challenges when it comes to commercialization, since cost reduction, reliability and extended lifetime is required. In order to improve durability and cost efficiency of the cells the stacks and the system much of the development has in the past been focused on lower operation temperature, increased power density and material savings based on reduced cell and stack component thickness. Nevertheless, most of the demonstrations with ceramic cells in real system operation have until now revealed problems regarding these issues in combination with low robustness. Attention to these issues has especially been paid in connection with SOFC technology for mobile application, such as in APUs. Modelling studies as well as recent practical experience has proved how up-scaling of cells and stacks to larger more industrially relevant sizes generally leads to lower reliability in real system operation and intolerance towards system abuse and operation failures. These observations conform to the statistical distribution of mechanical properties governing the probability of failure of cells based on ceramic materials, whether it is for mobile or for stationary applications.
The aim of the METSAPP project is to develop novel cells and stacks based on a robust and reliable up-scale-able metal supported technology with the following primary objectives:
1. Robust metal-supported cell design, ASRcell < 0.5 Ohmcm2, 650 C; 2. Cell optimized and fabrication upscaled for various sizes; 3. Improved durability for stationary applications, degradation < 0.25%/kh; 4. Modular, up-scaled stack design, stack ASRstack < 0.6 Ohmcm2, 650 C; 5. Robustness of 1-3 kW stack verified; 6. Cost effectiveness, industrially relevance, up-scale-ability illustrated.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Innovative fabrication routes and materials for METal and anode supported PROton conducting fuel CELLs
PCFC is one of the most promising technologies to reach the requirements related to cogeneration application, especially for small power systems (1-5 kWel). The investigation in the concept of advanced thin-film ceramic fuel cell technology at operating intermediate temperature between 400 and 700 °C aims at improving the characteristics (thermal cycling, heat transfer, current collection,.) as well as lowering drastically the costs of the system.
The aim of METPROCELL is to develop innovative Proton Conducting Fuel Cells (PCFCs) by using new electrolytes and electrode materials and implementing cost effective fabrication routes based on both conventional wet chemical routes and thermal spray technologies. Following a complementary approach, the cell architecture will be optimised on both metal and anode type supports, with the aim of improving the performance, durability and cost effectiveness of the cells.
- Development of novel electrolyte (e.g. BTi02, BCY10/BCY10) and electrode materials (e.g. NiO-BIT02 and NiO-BCY10/BCY10 anodes) with enhanced properties for improved proton conducting fuel cells dedicated to 500-600°C.
- Development of alternative manufacturing routes using cost effective thermal spray technologies such detonation spraying (electrolytes and protective coatings on interconnects) and plasma spraying (anode).
- Development of innovative proton conducting fuel cell configurations to be constructed on the basis of both metal supported and anode supported cell designs.
- To up-scale the manufacturing procedures based on both conventional wet chemical methods and thermal spraying for the production of flat Stack Cells with a footprint of 12 x 12 cm.
- Bring the proof of concept of these novel PCFCs by the set-up and validation of prototype like stacks in two relevant industrial systems, namely APU and gas/micro CHP.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Working towards Mass Manufactured, Low Cost and Robust SOFC stacks
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%, a 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.
The project proposal 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. Performance is increased since the force needed for secure contacting is now independent of the force required to secure gas tightness of the sealing joints.
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.
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. The stack design 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 sufficient stack lifetime, also for stationary applications. The latter will also benefit from improved start-up times, since this allows a more flexible and load-oriented operation.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Innovative cell and stack design for stationary industrial applications using novel laser processing techniques
The alkaline fuel cell (AFC) is one of the most efficient devices for converting hydrogen into electricity. Project LASER CELL will develop a novel, mass producible AFC and stack design for stationary, industrial applications utilising the latest laser processing technology. This economically viable, sophisticated technology will enable design options, not previously possible, that will revolutionise the functionality and commercial viability of the AFC.
Key parameters that will dictate fuel cell and stack design are; safety, reduced part count, easy of assembly, durability, optimised performance, recyclability and increased volumetric power density in a way which delivers a cost of under €1,000 per kW. To realise this vision, proprietary cell and stack features that have never before been incorporated into an AFC system will be employed and deliver a flawlessly functioning stack.
In order to achieve these ambitious objectives, the consortium comprises world leading specialists in the fields of alkaline, polymer electrolyte and solid oxide fuel cells, advanced laser processing technologies, conductive nano composites, polymer production and large scale, stationary power plants.
A cell design tool, based on physical and cost models, will be produced. This disseminated tool will provide design rational for material selection and geometric design and will be applicable for all low temperature fuel cells.
Commercially viable porosity forming processes developed in this project will enable organisations working with other fuel cell types to re-evaluate the fabrication and design of their core technologies. Furthermore, other sectors that will benefit are; solar cell, aviation, medical and automotive.
Having the ability to convert ‘waste’ hydrogen into electricity and being the ‘pull through’ technology for carbon capture and storage (CCS), AFCs could play a crucial role in helping the EU meet its reduced CO2 emission targets and improve its energy security.
Demonstration of Fuel cell based integrated generator systems to power off-grid cell phone towers, using ammonia fuel
The Cell Phone industry is a recent major business success story, with the EU significantly contributing and gaining from this opportunity. (Three of 4 cell phone network equipment manufacturers are European (Ericsson; Nokia-Siemens; and Alcatel-Lucent) and many global cell phone companies are based in the EU (e.g. Vodafone, Orange, Telefonica etc).
The developed markets are saturated, and growth is focussed in developing countries (Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe), where the operators’ success has out-paced the electrical grid, and power for cell phone towers is provided by inefficient, high maintenance, polluting and expensive diesel generators.
This consortium has developed a low-cost, FC-based integrated generator system (the PowerCube™), together with the relevant fuelling capability (using ammonia as the fuel), to cost-effectively replace diesel generators in this market and with an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases. The market is worth €8.5Bn per annum.
This project will deploy a field demonstration project comprising 40-60 PowerCubes to demonstrate:
• Integrated FC based systems with sufficient power generation capacity and redundancy to power 40-60 off-grid cell phone sites.
• Proof of suitable supply chain (maintenance, spare parts, and fuel) and field support capabilities
• Capability of systems to integrate with the existing power systems requirements
• Advantages over incumbent technologies (twin diesel generators) and advantages over wind/solar battery prototypes
• Compliance with all relevant Regulatory Codes and Standards
Feedback from the demonstration project will be fed into additional RD&D activities to mitigate any potential barriers or risks preventing subsequent full implementation
An environmental sustainability assessment will be completed by means of Life Cycle Assessments studies.
The results and benefits will be widely disseminated to a wider audience including potential customers and industrial stakeholders.
SOFC CCHP with poly-fuel: operation and management
If we consider a new energy framework, based on the concepts of sustainability, energy security using local resources, maximization of the exergy efficiency of the whole system, a possible solution could be based on the following criteria:
• Combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) plants;
• Small-medium size plants locally distributed;
• Plants with maximization of the energy recovery from the primary sources: maximum exergy efficiency of the whole system;
• Flexibility in the use of local primary sources (biogas, bio-syngas, bio-fuels);
• Easy and efficient CO2 separation from the plant exhaust
Among the technologies which could satisfy these criteria, a new technology is gaining more and more interest: energy systems based on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) which, in the medium term, could become one of the most interesting technologies able to address the above criteria.
The proposal is an applied research project devoted to demonstrate the technical feasibility and the energy and environmental advantages of CCHP plants based on SOFC fed by different typologies of biogenous primary fuels (locally produced), also integrated by a process for the CO2 separation from the anode exhaust gases.
The research activity will address the scientific, technical, economical management of two proof-of-concepts of complete energy systems based on SOFCs, through real in-field demonstration units. Several issues will be pointed out, like high efficiency integration designs, impact of pollutants on SOFC and fuel processing units, gas cleaning, operation in CCHP configuration, carbon sequestration module.
The activities developed by each Partner, in the different areas of the proposed research, have the ultimate goal of assembling, testing and validate the two proof-of-concept systems.
In order to guarantee the success of the Demonstration activity, it is also integrated with: Lab-scale Activities (preliminary to the real demonstration activities); Conceptual and Analysis Activities.
Advanced multi-fuel Reformer for CHP-fuel CELL systems
Distributed power generation via Micro Combined Heat and Power (m-CHP) systems, has been proven to overcome disadvantages of centralized plant since it can give savings in terms of Primary Energy consumption and energy costs. The main advantage is that m-CHP systems are able to recover and use the heat that in centralized systems is often lost. Wide exploitation of these systems is still hindered by high costs and low reliability due to the complexity of the system.
REforCELL aims at developing a high efficient heat and power cogeneration system based on: i) design, construction and testing of an advanced reformer for pure hydrogen production with optimization of all the components of the reformer (catalyst, membranes, heat management etc) and ii) the design and optimization of all the components for the connection of the membrane reformer to the fuel cell stack.
The main idea of REforCELL is to develop a novel more efficient and cheaper multi-fuel membrane reformer for pure hydrogen production in order to intensify the process of hydrogen production through the integration of reforming and purification in one single unit.
To increase the efficiency and lifetime of the reformer, novel stable catalysts and high permeable and more stable membranes will be developed. Afterwards, suitable reactor designs for increasing the mass and heat transfer will be realized and tested at laboratory scale. The most suitable reactor design will be scaled up at prototype scale (5 Nm3/h of pure hydrogen) and tested in a CHP system.
The connection of the novel reformer within the CHP will be optimized by designing heat exchangers and auxiliaries required in order to decrease the energy losses in the system. The project aims to increase the electric efficiency of the system above 45% and the overall efficiency above 90%.
A complete lifecycle analysis of the system will be carried out and cost analysis and business plan for reformer manufacturing and CHP system will be supplied.
ASsessment of SOFC CHP systems build on the TEchnology of htceRamIX 3
The Asterix project consortium was initiated as a privately financed initiative in 2005 between EIFER/EDF, Dantherm, Danfoss and HTceramix. The objective of the collaboration was to evaluate HTceramix’s SOFC technology in perspective of development of a residential micro-CHP application with a strong and well defined market focus.
The project has achieved its goals in providing a serious evaluation of the feasibility of fuel cell based micro CHP. The viability of the technology has been validated and a proof of concept, for most aspects of the system, has been developed and tested. The CHP market segment we are targeting, as well as the next steps towards a full Proof of Concept system has been clearly defined:
The main objectives of this project are:
• Improving lifetime, reliability and robustness of the overall system
• Improve component quality
• Increase robustness and tolerance to thermal cycling
• Develop and integrate fully automated control of the system
• Reduce cost and volume of the system
• Increase thermal and electrical efficiency
Achieving these objectives will enable us to demonstrate a residential CHP concept fulfilling market requirements, and we can start working on the next step towards commercialization; validation of fuel cell system readiness, field trials and preparation for scale production.
The Asterix consortium cover the entire value chain from R&D over stack core technology (HTceramics), systems integration (Dantherm) and heat management (Danfoss) to market access (via Eifer). Each partner brings a high level of expertise and specific competencies to the project.
With the recent involvement of CNR-ITAE in the consortium, we have now added the complementary competences to our consortium, which we are sure, can bring us successfully through the next phases towards market introduction.
All the partners in the project have extensive experience in working in nationally or EU funded consortia projects.
Generic Diagnosis Instrument for SOFC Systems
The state of health of any SOFC system is currently difficult to evaluate, which makes it difficult to respond to a fault or degradation with the appropriate counter measure, to ensure the required reliability level. Therefore, the GENIUS project aims to develop a “GENERIC” algorithm, based on a validated diagnostic “GENERIC” approach. This algorithm would only use process values (normal measurements and system control input parameters) and the approach would allow all SOFC developers to use and implement the algorithm in their respective systems according to their specific constraints.
To guarantee the “GENERIC” character of the algoithm, stacks and systems from four different manufacturers will be tested using commonly defined test plan that will be based on the “Design Of Experiment” method. Three different types of models will be evaluated in parallel by four different academic institutions in order to define the optimal tool for fault detection and degradation identification. This will be done taking into account both “on board” diagnostic and "off-line" diagnostic requirements. The diagnosis would generate a set of indicators able to quantify either the drift or the difference of the actual status with respect to nominal or expected performance. A diagnostic hardware integrating the best algorithm will be developed and validated in two different SOFC systems. Finally, physical parameters and interactions will be correlated with degradation mechanisms. This correlation will allow the definition of either counter measures (in case of fault or degradation) or of a more optimal operation point. This will make it possible to reduce maintenance to yearly intervals. It may also help reach a target of tens of thousands hours for stack or system operation lifetime. Finally, it is important to mention that most of participants of the GENIUS project are members of the FCH Joint Undertaking Initiative.
Degradation Signatures identification for stack operation diagnostics
Today, main expectation for SOFC stationary systems competitiveness is to exceed a durability of 40 000 h, an objective which is not today reached except for very specific designs. A better understanding and detection of the failure mechanisms and the internal condition of stacks is of major importance for the introduction of the SOFC technology. If, massive SOFC stack or auxiliary failure can be easily detected by the control system, it is not currently the case for insidious abnormal operating conditions that accelerate the degradation of the SOFC stack, impacting seriously its performances other the long run and ultimately the life expectancy of the stack. These insidious phenomena can come either from within the stack itself (ex. a SRU distribution channel blocked), or from minor system failures (ex. abnormal decrease of performance of a fuel blower).
DESIGN sets out on the detection of slow and hidden phenomena that nevertheless have strong and detrimental long-term effects on the performance and durability of the SOFC stack. The project proposes to study the influence of slowly-damaging conditions on measures performed on the stack sub-components: the Cells, the Single Repeating Units (SRU) and smaller stacks. Identification of characteristic signatures of these degradation phenomena at the lower level will be subsequently transposed at the stack level, to provide a way to diagnose slow degradation phenomena in a commercial SOFC stack, through appropriate data processing of measures provided by limited sensors.
The main outputs of the project will be:
1. Identification of relevant sensors and signals to be monitored to diagnose degradation phenomena;
2. A data analysis methodology to be applied to measured signals;
3. A set of characteristic signatures for the different degradation phenomena at the local and stack level, to be compared with the actual sensor signal to diagnose long-term degradation conditions;
4. Recommendations for operation recovery.
DC/DC COnverter-based Diagnostics for PEM systems
The D-CODE project aims at developing and implementing on-line electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) to have direct and meaningful information on the system status. EIS has been proven to be an effective diagnostic tool for laboratory tests. It will be implemented on-board thanks to a new DC/DC converter conceived by the D-CODE’s partners. The new hardware will be developed together with dedicated power electronics functions that will enable the measurement of the impedance spectrum. Dedicated on-line diagnosis algorithms will be implemented according to different approaches to effectively monitor faults or degradation mechanisms. Two stationary PEM fuel cell applications will be considered, namely low temperature power backup and high temperature CHP, these two configurations cover all the potential stationary use of PEM fuel cell systems. Extensive testing will be performed to validate the diagnostic strategies and evaluate their effectiveness in improving control actions aimed at optimizing operating conditions and increasing lifetime. The D-CODE diagnostic concept relies on the combination of power electronics hardware and diagnostic algorithms, whose functions can be easily extended to other applications of PEM fuel cell systems and, in perspective, to all FC technologies as well.
The D-CODE project’s outcomes are expected to improve management and operational capabilities of both low and high temperature PEM fuel cells, to enhance monitoring capabilities, increase maintenance time with higher MTBF and reduce degradation rate. These achievements are crucial and will foster the deployment of PEM fuel cells for on field use. The D-CODE project gathers together a group of research institutions and industries whose skills guarantee the required knowledge to convey the project from the EIS concept to its on-field implementation.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Sulphur, Carbon, and re-Oxidation Tolerant Anodes and Anode Supports for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells
The project will demonstrate a new full ceramic SOFC cell with superior robustness as regards to sulphur tolerance, carbon deposition (coking) and re-oxidation (redox resistance). Such a cell mitigates three major failure mechanisms which today have to be addressed at the system level. Having a more robust cell will thus enable the system to be simplified, something of particular importance for small systems, e.g. for combined heat and power (CHP). The new ceramic based cell will be produced by integrating a new, very promising class of materials, strontium titanates, into existing, proven SOFC cell designs. Cost effective and up-scalable processes will be developed for the fabrication of supports and cells. In an iterative process the cell performance at defined tolerance levels will subsequently be improved by adjustments of the fabrication on full cell level according to identified failure mechanisms. Cells with matching performance but improved sulphur, coling and re-oxidation tolerance compared to state-of-the-art Ni-cermet materials will finally be demonstrated in a real system environment.
Cathode Subsystem Development and Optimisation
The main objectives of this proposal is to evaluate different process alternatives and find optimal process and mechanical solutions for the cathode and stack subsystems with the aim of having commercially feasible and technologically optimised subsystem solutions ready for future ~ 250 kWe atmospheric SOFC systems. The aspects taken into account in the development are mainly electrical efficiency, controllability, reliability, mass production and costs effectiveness of developed subsystems and individual components.
This project is focused on the development of SOFC system’s air side fluid and thermal management and mechanical solutions, i.e. cathode subsystem and individual components. In large SOFC systems the cathode subsystem is typically the largest source of auxiliary losses and a major factor decreasing electrical efficiency of the system. The reason for this is that almost all components are based on existing products developed for some other purposes and are not optimized for certain SOFC systems. By making cathode side components from the SOFC system point of view, i.e. optimizing the overall system solutions, significant improvements in terms of costs, reliability, performance and lifetime will be achieved. A parallel optimization of the anode subsystem is carried out in the EU funded ASSENT project.
The project will further focus on the integration of SOFC stacks in large systems. If large SOFC systems would be realized by simple multiplication of smaller SOFC stacks, the cost of the so-called Balance of Stack components would be very large. The Balance of Stack components includes air- and gas manifolding, stack compression, thermal insulation, electrical insulation, wiring, lead-in and sealing. Based on state-of-the-art SOFC stacks this project will develop scalable, cost-efficient Balance of Stack solutions suitable for ~ 250 kW SOFC systems.
STAYERS Stationary PEM fuel cells with lifetimes beyond five years
Economical use of PEM fuel cell power for stationary applications demands a lifetime of the fuel cells of at least 5 years, or more than 40,000 hours of continuous operation. The prospect of large scale application for automotive use has focused PEM research on low cost production techniques with practical lifetimes of the fuel cells of 5,000 hours. For the stationary use, especially in the chemical industry and in remote areas, robustness, reliability, and longevity are often more important than the cost of the initial investment. For stationary generators the yearly cost of maintenance and overhaul are expected to be much larger than for intermittent applications such as automotive- and back-up power.
To reach the high goals of the project, basic material research is given maximum attention. The durability of all components of a stack of PEM fuel cells, especially that of the Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA), rims and seals, cell (bipolar) plates, and flow field is of paramount importance for a stationary power generator.
Project STAYERS is dedicated to the goal of obtaining 40,000 hours of PEM fuel cell lifetime employing the best technological and scientific means. Apart from materials research it also requires a detailed investigation of degradation mechanisms and their mitigation during continuous operation. Factors relevant for the balance of plant (BOP) will also be addressed. These are the operating temperature, degree of humidification of fuel and air, and the excess ratio with respect to the stoichiometry of the supplied gases. The effect of possible contaminants should be taken into account.
A lifetime of 40,000 hours, if defined as the time elapsed until 10 % of the initial voltage is lost, is equivalent with an average voltage decay rate of 1.5μV/h. To establish this lifetime within the 26,000 hours of a three years project advanced materials research and development will be combined with models and accelerated tests.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Solid Oxide Fuel Cells – Integrating Degradation Effects into Lifetime Prediction Models
Long-term stable operation of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) is a basic requirement for introducing this technology to the stationary power market. Degradation phenomena limiting the lifetime can be divided into continuous (baseline) and incidental (transient) effects.
This project is concerned with understanding the details of the major SOFC continuous degradation effects and developing models that will predict single degradation phenomena and their combined effect on SOFC cells and single repeating units.
The outcome of the project will be an in-depth understanding of the degradation phenomena as a function of the basic physico-chemical processes involved, including their dependency on operational parameters. Up to now research has rarely succeeded in linking the basic changes in materials properties to the decrease in electro-chemical performance at the level of multi-layer systems and SOFC cells, and even up to single repeating units.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Robust Advanced Materials for Metal Supported SOFC
The RAMSES project aims at developing an innovative high performance, robust, durable and cost-effective Solid Oxide Fuel Cell based on the Metal Supported Cell concept i.e. the deposition of thin ceramic electrodes and electrolyte on a porous metallic substrate. Both planar and tubular cells will be developed. By considering advanced materials tailored for this cell design, such cells will be able to operate at 600°C on methane steam reforming, with an ASR of 0.8 Ohm.cm² for planar cells and 1.0 Ohm.cm² for tubular cells and a degradation rate of 30 mOhm.cm²/khr. In addition it will be able of withstanding thermal/redox combined cycles. The achievement of such performance needs several key-developments to be addressed: first the manufacturing of a durable metallic substrate; second the deposition of the ceramic layers without affecting the substrate microstructure, with a special emphasis on the dense electrolyte deposition; third the proof-of-concept via the integration of the cells into a short stack, supported by inspection techniques to evaluate the good quality of components at each step of the process; and finally testing activities to determine the performance and durability of cells and stacks, and to investigate specific identified failure mechanisms.
A cross multidisciplinary consortium has been defined to obtain each competence needed for the project, gathering 9 organisations from 4 member states (France, Italy, Sweden, Spain) and one associated country (Norway). In addition an IPHE country (Canada) with a significant background in the development of Metal Supported Cells will be associated to this project.
The partnership covers all competences necessary to develop the new SOFC, embracing powder suppliers (HÖGANÄS, BAIKOWSKI), experts in materials and cell developments (CNRS-BX, CEA, SINTEF, IKL, NRC), testing (CEA, NRC, IKL), components and stack development and production (SP, IKL, COPRECI, NRC) and inspection techniques (AEA).
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Ammonia based, fuel cell power for off-grid cell phone towers
The technology of mobile telecommunications has reached a level of maturity in those industrial regions wherein a reliable electrical grid powers the mobile base station infrastructure. The absence of a grid in many global regions presents market needs for remote power units providing cleanly generated electricity more cost effectively than hitherto. A fuel cell based system is proposed which obviates the hydrogen fuel infrastructure problem by employing a novel solution based on anhydrous liquid ammonia. This is a widely available commodity. Thus, a novel catalytic cracker will convert the ammonia to hydrogen and this, in turn, will fuel a set of PEM fuel cells. By this means, an emissions free power source (PowerCube TM) has been developed. This now has the potential to be deployed and operated remotely providing electricity more cost effectively with considerations to cost of ownership and long term reliability. To this end, the consortium has the required profile to bring this technology to a position of systems readiness. The key objectives are as follows:
To demonstrate that a fully-integrated, turn-key power system (PowerCube TM) is technologically viable and can be readily manufactured to meet the cell phone operators’ targets of reliability, longevity and low-maintenance. The benchmark in this respect is the polluting diesel generator technology which is unreliable and requires high maintenance with theft and adulteration of diesel fuel being widespread. The development targets have been set against the most likely customer specific systems performance requirements.
A further key project objective is to deploy several power systems (PowerCubes TM) as customer acceptance trial units in multiple sites across several climate zones and principally in sub-Sahara Africa. This will follow the development and field evaluation of a refuelling, maintenance and repair infrastructure. The latter will further benefit from a remote monitoring and control system which will be developed and will enable predictive maintenance.
Low temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cells for micro-CHP applications
Since the requirements of micro-CHP systems in the European Union are becoming clearer, the technologies to reach these goals are emerging steadily. The high intrinsic electrical efficiency and the capability to be directly connected to existing heating circuits, make solid oxide fuel cells a preferred choice for this application. This proposal describes the project to build a prototype of a new generation SOFC system based on novel materials, which can run at significantly lower temperatures than today. The lower temperatures provide the opportunity to use less expensive materials and still increase the reliability of the components and thus of the whole system. State-of-the-art SOFC systems operate at much higher temperatures, which causes severe issues on degradation and limited lifetime of the materials. The novel materials will eliminate those problems and will also give a higher stability against reduction-oxidation cycles of the electrodes, bringing the technology a step further towards commercialisation.
The objective of the LOTUS project is to build and test a Low Temperature SOFC system prototype based on new SOFC technology combined with low cost, mass-produced, proven components. The use of a modular concept and design practices from the heating appliances industry will reduce maintenance and repair downtime and costs of the system.
The consortium gathered to work in this project is a combination of partners who have experience in:
1. Defining the market requirements
2. Translating these requirements into technical specifications and models
3. Design and build a prototype system
4. Test and validate the system
5. Bringing the technology to market
This covers the whole value chain of the system under discussion.
The final result is a working prototype of the system, which shows that it is able to run in a laboratory environment mimicking real-life use, and is robust enough to be ready for the next phase of field trials
PREdictive Modelling for Innovative Unit Management and ACcelerated Testing procedures of PEFC
Premium Act is an ambitious project on the durability of PEFC (Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells), targeting one of the main hurdles still to overcome before successful market development of stationary fuel cell systems. PEFC systems are now very near, or even already comply with market requirements for cost and performance. But durability targets, up to several tens of thousands of hours, are much more difficult to reach.
Premium Act proposes a very innovative approach, combining original experimental work on PEFC systems, stacks and MEAs (Membrane Electrodes Assembly), including locally resolved studies of components durability, components characterisation using the most advanced techniques in order to quantify ageing phenomena, and an original mechanistic, multi-scale modelling approach able to take into account materials degradation processes and all reactions occurring and competing at each instant in a PEFC.
These combined experimental and modelling tools will provide understanding of the fundamentals of degradation, with new insight on the coupling of degradation mechanisms in PEFC components, thus enabling the consortium to innovate on:
- operating strategies, enhancing lifetime of given MEAs in a given stack and system,
- The design of a lifetime prediction methodology based on coupled modelling and composite accelerated tests experiments.
Premium Act will establish this innovative approach on two strategic fuel cell technologies for stationary markets: DMFC power generators and CHP systems fed by reformate hydrogen, both sharing similar MEA materials. This will show that the strategy is adaptable to the multiple PEFC requirements and give a competitive edge to European providers of stationary fuel cell systems.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Evaluating the Performance of Fuel Cells in European Energy Supply Grids
It has become apparent in the development of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) Multi Annual Implementation Plan (MAIP) and Annual Implementation Plans (API) that it is difficult to formulate precise targets and requirements for stationary fuel cell applications due to the complicated interaction of FC system operation with grid specifics and the differing goals of FC implementation in the Member States. Neither for efficiency and emission levels, for example, nor for more technical specifications like cycling ability and turn-down ratio can clear targets be set and benchmarks applied that are independent from the energy supply grid environment the FC system is operating in.
Therefore it was decided to omit such targets from the JU programme, which on the other hand constitutes an unsatisfactory situation due to the lack of clear technical guidelines.
The project will contribute to solving this situation by collecting and reviewing information on stationary FC operations in various grid environments and application strategies. From this analysis and using information on competing technologies and their future development, benchmarks and targets for stationary fuel cell applications in Europe will be developed and coordinated with the relevant European stakeholders, as well as with the FCH JU and the Commission. These benchmarks will be essential in assessing the progress of the JU programme in improving fuel cell technology and the advantages fuel cells can offer over conventional technologies in the context of different energy supply grids.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Low equivalent weight ionomers are required to reach the membrane conductivity and MEA performance targets for stationary operation and enable stationary PEMFC systems to achieve superior overall system yield to competitive technologies. Perfluorosulfonic acid ionomers (PFSA) demonstrate excellent properties in terms of chemical resistance in a fuel cell environment. In stationary applications, where the situation of deep MEA dehydration and frequent open circuit voltage events can be reasonably avoided, (this is not true in automotive applications) the most relevant failure mode in extended life time operation is associated with membrane mechanical failure. The use of a pre-formed inert support for mechanical stabilisation within the membrane has the drawback of reducing membrane specific conductivity, and this frequently imposes a reduction in membrane thickness to very low values. The objective of this proposal is to improve the mechanical properties of low equivalent weight state of the art perfluorosulfonic acid membranes using chemical, thermal, and processing and filler reinforcement methodologies by maintaining high proton conductivity. The baseline product for further development is the short side chain perfluoroionomer that already shows the best combination between ionic conductivity and mechanical stability. Stabilised membranes will be comprehensively characterised for their ex situ properties and screened and selected membranes will be integrated into MEAs and validation by evaluating single cell performance and durability under conditions relevant for stationary operation and comparison with those of reference membrane materials and MEAs, including the development and application of accelerated stress testing. In the final phase of the project the most promising membranes will be tested in a 4000 h durability test, simulating 10% of the expected lifetime of a stationary system to have a realistic projection of the expected degradation at 40,000 h.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Anode Sub-System Development & Optimisation for SOFC systems
The high temperature fuel cell technologies have potential for high electrical efficiency, 45-60%, and total efficiency up to 95%. SOFC has the added benefit of offering commercial applications from 1 kW residential to several MW stationary units with high fuel flexibility. Whilst much effort is devoted to cell and stack issues, less attention has been paid to the components and sub-systems required for an operational system. Components and sub-systems such as fuel processing, heat and thermal management, humidification, fluid supply and management and power electronics are as crucial to the successful commercialisation of fuel cell systems as the cell and stack. This project is focused on the development of fuel and water management for SOFC systems. The fuel management, and especially recirculation, is a key question in achieving high electric efficiency and rejecting external water supply. The recirculation increases the fuel utilization rate and can provide the water needed in the reforming of fuels. However, with current SOFC systems the anode circulation has been problematic from controllability and reliability points of view, and hence there is a need to develop the overall solution of the anode subsystem. This project will evaluate different process approaches for fuel and water management, e.g. blower-based approach, ejector-based approach, and water circulation by condensing from the anode off-gas/exhaust gas and evaporating back to the fuel loop. The aspects taken into account in the conceptual analysis are effects on electric efficiency and process simplicity implying easiness of controllability, and requirements on diagnostics accuracy to provide insights into failure mode prevention. In the detailed evaluation, the suitable approaches are analysed more thoroughly in terms of component availability and reliability, achievable diagnostics accuracy, controllability, effects on reformer, mechanical integration feasibility to whole system, cost effects etc.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Knowledge to Enhance the Endurance of PEM fuel cells by Accelerated LIfetime Verification Experiments
Small scale stationary Combined Heat and Power (µ-CHP) generation is foreseen as a significant future market for fuel cells. Among the fuel cell types, the Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) technology is by far dominating the small scale stationary demonstration and field trials (~90%). The PEMFC has advantages related to high electric efficiency and excellent load following properties. A major hurdle to commercialisation, however, is their insufficient lifetime under realistic operation conditions. KEEPEMALIVE aims to establish improved understanding of degradation and failure mechanisms, accelerated stress test protocols, sensitivity matrix and lifetime prediction models for Low Temperature PEMFC to enable a lifetime of 40 000h at realistic operation conditions for stationary systems, in compliance with performance and costs targets. Main KEEPEMALIVE targets are to establish a robust and efficient methodology to identify & quantify main factors (and interactions) causing degradation/failure when imposed to stressing conditions and to characterise changes in PEMFC materials’ properties and corresponding performance losses using statistical designed experiments KEEPEMALIVE uses an integrated, iterative approach, using advanced statistical experiment design and result evaluation. Quantitative data obtained in situ from cell & amp; stack tests under stressing conditions, are complemented by ex situ testing of materials, revealing corresponding changes in properties. Joint efforts of SMEs, energy companies and research community, including links to other related European activities, will contribute to strengthening Europe’s competitiveness in this area.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell catalyst and stack component degradation and lifetime: Fuel Gas CONTaminant effects and EXtraction strategies
High-T fuel cells like the MCFC are the best candidate for exploiting cleanly & amp; efficiently non-conventional fuels of organic or waste-derived origin that are one of the keys to a sustainable energy infrastructure & amp; have very strong potential, but the degradation caused by the contaminants in these fuels must be addressed. MCFC-CONTEX aims to tackle this problem from 2 sides: 1) investigating poisoning mechanisms caused by alternative fuels & amp; determining precisely MCFC tolerance limits for long-term endurance; 2) optimizing fuel cleaning to achieve tailored degrees of purification according to MCFC operating conditions & amp; tolerance. The 1st line of activity requires extensive & amp; long-term cell testing, so in parallel methods will be sought to increase experimental effectiveness: a numerical model will be set up to simulate & amp; predict the effects of contaminants, and as knowledge is gained of the poisoning mechanisms through the experimental & amp; simulation campaigns, accelerated testing procedures will be conceived & amp; validated. The 2nd line of investigation entails characterization & amp; development of clean-up materials & amp; processes, focusing on the most promising options to be selected at the start of the project. To carry out this research, real-time & amp; highly accurate contaminant detection methods are necessary which have to be implemented in the fuel-clean-up-MCFC chain to monitor the fate of the harmful species & amp; thus deduce their effects. This will be the 3rd line of activity. Outcome of the project will be: increased understanding of poisoning mechanisms & amp; a set of operating conditions-dependent tolerance limits for the MCFC; a numerical model for prediction of contaminant-induced degradation effects; validated accelerated testing procedures; a prototypal clean-up system optimized for upgrading selected non-conventional fuel gases to established MCFC requirements; a reliable trace species detection system for monitoring of fuel quality & amp; process control.
CORDIS link, Project’s website
UNDERSTANDING THE DEGRADATION MECHANISMS OF MEMBRANE-ELECTRODE-ASSEMBLY FOR HIGH TEMPERATURE PEMFCS AND OPTIMIZATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL COMPONENTS
The state of the art high temperature PEM fuel cell technology is based on H3PO4 imbibed polymer electrolytes. The most challenging areas towards the optimization of this technology are: (i) the development of stable long lasting polymer structures with high ionic conductivity and (ii) the design and development of catalytic layers with novel structures and architectures aiming to more active and stable electrochemical interfaces with minimal Pt corrosion. In this respect the objective of the present proposal is to understand the functional operation and degradation mechanisms of high temperature H3PO4 imbibed PEM and its electrochemical interface. The degradation mechanisms will be thoroughly studied and be focused on low loading Pt or nanostructured alloyed Pt electrocatalysts and catalytic layers, which will be supported on finely dispersed or structurally organized modified carbon supports (nanotubes, pyrolytic carbon). A stable electrocatalytic layer with full metal electrocatalyst utilization at the electrode/electrolyte interface can thus be achieved. The high temperature PEM membrane electrode assembly (MEA) will be based on a) PBI and variants as control group and b) the advanced state of the art MEAs based on aromatic polyethers bearing pyridine units. These MEAs have been developed optimized and tested at temperatures up to 200oC, where they exhibit stable and efficient operation. In the present proposal they will be studied and tested in single fuel cells with regards to their operating conditions and long term stability aiming to the development of a series of diagnostic tests that will lead in the design and development of an accelerated test and prediction tool for the MEA’s performance. If we can really understand the fundamentals of the failure mechanisms, then we can use that information to guide the development of new materials or we can develop system approaches to mitigate these failures.
Long-life PEM-FCH &CHP systems at temperatures ≥100°C
The present proposal aims at the development of SPG&CHP systems based on Polymeric Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell Hydrogen (PEMFCH). A drawback in the state-of-the-art systems is the too low operating temperatures (70-80°C) of PEMFCHs for cogeneration purposes. Operating temperatures above 100°C would have several advantages including easier warm water distribution in buildings, reduced anode poisoning due to carbon monoxide impurities in the fuel and improved fuel oxidation kinetics. A PEMFCH operating in the temperature range of 100-130°C is highly desirable and could be decisive for the development of SPG & amp; CHP systems based on PEMFCHs. The main objective of the present project is to give a clear demonstration that long-life SPG & amp; CHP systems based on PEMFCHs operating above 100°C can now be developed on the basis of recent knowledge on the degradation mechanisms of ionomeric membranes and on innovative synthetic approaches recently disclosed by some participants of this project. Main research tasks: (1) Develop long life (longer 40000 hrs) perfluoro sulfonic acid membranes and sulfonated aromatic polymer membranes operating at 100-130°C with current density of at least 4000A/m2; (2) Create new long-life catalytic electrodes and MEAs working in the above temperature range; (3) Perform accelerated ageing tests and long-term single cell tests to understand degradation mechanisms, to make lifetime predictions and to give input to objectives 1 and 2; (4) Develop a prototype of a modular SPG & amp; CHP system based on multi-PEMFCHs realized with the new long-life MEAs; (5) Benchmarking the single-cell and the modular prototype performance at temperatures above 100°C against the best literature results. The project will benefit from the synergy arising from the know-how of leading research groups of universities and research institutes as well as from the technical knowledge and expertise of industries and utility companies involved in fuel cell development and testing.
Understanding and minimizing anode degradation in hydrogen and natural gas fuelled SOFCs.
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are among the most promising fuel cell systems as they produce electric energy with high efficiency. Moreover, they are quite flexible concerning the use of hydrogen as well as of carbon based fuels, due to their high operation temperatures that allow for direct oxidation or reforming in the anode compartment, due to the catalytic action of the anode at these temperatures. In spite of their significant comparative advantages, especially for stationary applications, SOFCs have not been commercialized yet, due to their production cost as well as to their gradual degradation especially that of the anode electrodes, which results in limited lifetime. The key factors affecting anode degradation in hydrogen fuelled SOFCs are thermal sintering, electrochemical sintering and local oxidation (redox cycling) of the nickel particles. Additional anode degradation factors in SOFCs fed with natural or biogas are carbon deposition and sulfur poisoning. Although research on these issues is intensive, no major technological breakthroughs have been so far with respect to robust operation, sufficient lifetime and competitive cost. As a result, penetration of this quite promising technology to broad markets is not possible yet. The proposed project offers an effective methodology for a holistic approach of the SOFC anode degradation problem, through detailed investigation of the degradation mechanisms under various operating conditions and the prediction of the anode performance, degradation and lifetime on the basis of a robust mathematical model, which takes into account all underlying phenomena. In this respect, the ROBANODE project proposes a novel strategy for understanding degradation phenomena and addresses scientific and technological issues, which shall offer significant impact concerning successful implementation of both hydrogen and gaseous hydrocarbon, fuelled Solid Oxide Fuel Cells.