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Development of a 1 kw direct alcohol low temperature solid oxide fuel cell

Gett fuel cells international ab has identified a player who through its competence and strength has the capacity to reach a cost level that makes commercialisation of the gett fuel cell membranes possible, thus reaching big markets.

Fuel Cells (FC) are regarded as a very promising energy converter since they are highly efficient and can use sustainable fuels. Up till now no fuel cell technology has been proven economically although its technology has proven to function. One example is the fuel cell busses that have been tested in several European cities. The problem has been mainly economical - the cost of one fuel cell bus equals 10 biogas buses! Most of the high costs can be deduced to the materials in the membranes - the heart of the fuel cell; (compare with 'Intel inside'). GETT's fuel cells belong to a new generation of solid oxide fuel cells (low temperature FCs or LTSOFC). The cell is based on an extensive research and development programme undertaken at the ROYAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (KTH) in Stockholm and GETT's laboratory in CHINA. The work is lead by the Swedish researcher Dr Bin Zhu (Chinese origin), a scientist who already from the start embraced the perspective - new materials to attain low cost fuel cells. The electrolyte material of the cell consists of ceramic nano composite materials made up from two salt-oxides permitting a working temperature of the cell ranging between 300-600 degrees Celsius, i.e. a low temperature level for Solid Oxide FCs. The properties of the solid oxide allow rapid ion migration despite the low working temperature of the cell. A low temperature gives the opportunity to use cheaper materials in the FC stack and thus reduce the full FC system cost. The lowering of temperature has been made possible without the contributory support of precious metals such as platinum. There has been much interest in recent years in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) fuelled by alcohol (methanol and ethanol) due to thermal cracking of methanol and ethanol at their operating temperature with high fuel cell (FC) power outputs without any external reforming process. However, they have not been considered competitive enough due to long start up time and slower response of dynamic conditions. Recent advances in SOFC areas have taken place, specifically thin film Scandia doped zirconia, especially samarium or gadolinium doped ceria and the development of ceria-based nano-composite electrolytes which can significantly lower the operating temperature down to 300-600 degrees Celsius with sufficient power output. The use of alcohol as fuel has several advantages: - no need to build new infrastructures for distribution; - sustainable sources can be used to produce the alcohol; - facilitates simple fuel cell systems, thus compact devices. GETT’s membranes offer a perfect temperature for cracking alcohols. The temperature also means that start up and time decreases dramatically compared with current SOFCs. With the help of a big player within white ware and home electronics, and who has already developed a SOFC prototype, GETT now has the opportunity to reach the market with its low cost membranes. The company with sales of 3.659 billion US dollars has taken a strategic decision to develop, market and sell FC products through its sales channels. GETT will play an important role in the development of these products.
Acronym: 
LTDASOFC
Project ID: 
4 151
Start date: 
27-12-2007
Project Duration: 
24months
Project costs: 
1 780 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Energy production, transmission and conversion
Market Area: 
Alternative Energy

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.