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SOFC Degradation: Analysis of the causes and development of countermeasures

(Kopie 3)

Project Leader: Prof. Christos Argirusis (Dr.Eng), Prof. Wolfgang Maus-Friedrichs

Funding period: 09/2014 – 08/2017
Funding body:
Funding reference: ENMAT-514-056

Project team: M.Sc. John Meuthen

Laboratories: 321; 322; 0.7 (CZM)

Fuel cells generate elecrrical current directly from the energy chemically stored in the gases. As a result, losses are avoided that can occur in conventional thermal and mechanical conversion processes in power generation, e.g. in thermal engines. One of the potential applications is stationary decentralised power generation, both for home energy supply and also for industrial CHPs and electricity supply. High-temperature fuel cells, in particular those with solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), are particularly well suited for this area of application; on account of their operating temperature of over 600°C they can also process gases containing carbon, such as methane (CH4) and carbon monoxide (CO), as well as hydrogen.

The use of the SOFC for power generation is currently still severely limited by the lifespan and robustness of the fuel cell stacks. For applications of this kind, tool life of at least 5, or even better 10, years are required. To date, the operational experience for fuel cell systems is a maximum of 30,000 operating hours for SOFC components and systems (incl. replacement of SOFC cells) or 40,000 hours (system with HEXIS and Shortstack at FZ Jülich). This shows that the current fuel cell components are not yet suitable for long-term, reliable operation beyond 4 years (approx. 35,000 hours). They exhibit a continual loss of operational performance ("degradation").

The objective of this project is, in cooperation with the leading research groups in the field of SOFC in Germany, to develop a deeper understanding of the degradation phenomenon in solid oxide fuel cells. The work should make a significant contribution to extending the lifespan of SOFC systems by up to 10 years (that is, around 100,000 hours of tool life).


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