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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% with high fuel flexibility being able to operate on syn-gas from Diesel reforming as well as LPG, methane or hydrogen at promising costs due to greatly reduced amounts of steel interconnect material.
The project addresses a novel design solution for lightweight SOFC stacks that decouples the thermal stresses within the stack and at the same time allows optimal sealing and contacting. In this way the capability for thermal cycling is enhanced and degradation of contacting reduced. 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 work in this project thus includes the development of mass-manufacturing-tailored manufacturing and assemblage technology and processes that will allow drastic cost reductions whilst securing a high level of reproducibility and in-process quality assurance.
The project logo is inspired by the sine wave spacer and colours reflect cathode electrolyte and anode
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 cost reduction and sufficient stack lifetime. Stationary applications will also benefit from improved start-up times, since this allows a more flexible and load-oriented operation.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) for the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative under grant agreement no. 278525.