Overcoming Barriers to Fuel Cell Commercialisation

Author:Fuel Cells Works     Source:Fuel Cells Works     Click:492     Publish time:2013/8/29 9:46:43

Fuel cells (FCs) that convert chemical energy into electricity are a clean alternative to fossil fuel combustion. EU-funded scientists are increasing reliability and decreasing costs for widespread market uptake.

Fuel cells consist of an anode and a cathode, separated by an electrolyte. Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) arguably present the greatest potential for widespread use. They use a low-cost solid oxide or ceramic electrolyte and sport very high conversion efficiency as well as fuel flexibility or the ability to use a variety of fuels, including fossil fuels. However, the high operating temperatures that deliver these benefits also pose numerous technical challenges.

Scientists initiated the EU-funded project ‘Robust advanced materials for metal supported SOFC’ (RAMSES) to push the limits of SOFC technology (see http://www.ramses-project.org/). They are developing advanced materials for a SOFC formed from the deposition of thin ceramic electrodes and electrolytes on a porous metallic substrate (metal-supported cell (MSC)).

Importantly, RAMSES is addressing some of the main problems faced by SOFCs, namely poor cycling performance due to thermal expansion or redox stresses and chromium poisoning of the cathode. To date, scientists have developed all required materials for a SOFC, thus meeting project objectives. These include a metal substrate with suitable porosity and oxidation resistance, as well as a customised electrolyte powder and anode and cathode materials. The materials have been assembled into tubular cells with promising preliminary test results regarding cycling stability.

The European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform and the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE) have identified cost and durability or robustness as major barriers to widespread SOFC uptake. RAMSES is addressing both these issues with advanced materials for an innovative MSC that promises major benefits for consumers, industry and the environment.

Keywords:Overcoming Barriers to Fuel Cell Commercialisation
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