13th European Solid Oxide Fuel Cell & Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Forum (13th EFCF), Lucerne, Switzerland
Attended by Jan Froitzheim (Chalmers)
The 13th European Fuel Cell Forum (EFCF) was held during the first week of July this year in Lucerne. This conference series is held every year in Lucerne, while in odd years the focus is on PEMFC, in even years the focus is on SOFC. Since 2014 also Solid Oxide Electrolysis (SOE) is included in the scope of the conference. The 2020 EFCF will be held from the 30th of June until the 3rd of July and will be chaired by Anke Hagen and Peter Vang Hendriksen (both DTU). One of the characteristics of the Lucerne meetings is a rather high share of presentations and representatives from industry.
In general terms the mood seemed to be optimistic and companies are starting to roll out more and more products, either in large demonstration projects or fully as commercial products. Low degradation rates and lifetimes of several 10 000 h are now commonly presented.
22nd World Hydrogen Energy Conference (22nd WHEC), Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Attended by Claudia Göbel (Chalmers)
This conference is held every 2 years at different locations in Asia, Europe, or America and is organized by the International Association for Hydrogen Energy (IAHE). The focus of this conference lies on anything to do with hydrogen, such as fuel cells (PEM or SOFC), hydrogen production (e.g. electrolyzers or natural hydrogen sources) and hydrogen storage. This year’s conference title was: Power and biomass to hydrogen. This year the conference had 400 speakers (including plenary lecturers) and approximately 757 attendees from 51 countries. Even though the conference was well visited, very few SOFC companies were present and most SOFC presentations and posters were very research oriented and focused on for example the synthesis of new cathode materials or other specific topics. The next WHEC will be held in 2020 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Only two Swedish attendees were present, Erik Wiberg (Hydrogen Sweden) and Claudia Göbel (Chalmers), who both had a presentation.
Summary of both conferences
One of the main application areas of SOFC is µ-CHP (combined heat and power), i.e. the use of SOFC instead of gas burners as combined heat and power units in households. The authors were under the impression that other markets in particular larger units for data centers and range extenders for electric vehicles are gaining in importance.
Although Bosch has been in the field for many years for the first time the company had an oral presentation on its development strategy. Bosch has built a 10 kW SOFC Demonstrator with a DC efficiency of 73 %. Bosch calculates a return on invest (ROI) of less than 5 years for many markets .
SOLIDpower is one of big European players. It has currently more than 1000 units installed and claims 18 M operating hours. SOLIDpower announced that it is going to build a plant with a capacity of 50 MW/year to increase production. It is one of the companies also aiming for larger units and presented a windowframe concept in which several standard cells are placed in a frame to build larger units .
British Ceres Power is traditionally focused on the household CHP market with 1 kW units. While this is still an important market Ceres Power also presented a larger unit of 5 kWel designed for commercial CHP and data center applications. Furthermore Ceres Power has ongoing collaborations with Nissan and Honda with respect to range extender applications for electric vehicles. The Ceres technology is different from other companies, because a steel substrate is used as backbone of the cell. Ceres estimates a material cost of US$350 for volume production (100 MWe/year) of 1 kW-class SteelCell® stacks. Out of this material cost 62 % are metal cost [3, 4].
Another company targeting the CHP market is Hexis (Switzerland), which is a subsidiary of Viessmann. The Hexis Galileo system has been on the market for a few years and over 300 systems are installed at end customer sites. Hexis presented data on its next generation system Leonardo. The main target with the new system is a reduction of cost, mainly in non stack components .
The German Sunfire works on CHP solutions (in collaboration with Vaillant), but is also a major player in the field of SOEC. Within the GrInHy project Sunfire build a reversible SOFC/SOEC stack that is operating successfully since December 2017 in Salzgitter at a steel plant. The unit was designed to produce 40 Nm3/h H2 or electricity depending on spot price and need of the surrounding industrial environment .
EIFER presented a short update on a SOEC system, which was operated for 23000 h and is to their knowledge the longest running SOEC stack for the time being. A low degradation of 7 mV/1000 h was observed [7, 8]. They also showed results of an SOEC system operating at a H2 refueling station in Karlsruhe. The system has been operational since December 2017 and is operating above 800 °C. The 7.5 kW SOE stacks were supplied by Sunfire. The capacity of the system is 2.4 Nm3/h at atmospheric pressure and thus it will only supply a small portion of H2 to the refueling station. During a 10 day test in December 420 Nm3 of hydrogen were produced .
Fiaxell is producing Open FlangeTM set-ups for SOFC and SOEC testing. These can record amongst others impedance spectroscopy, current-voltage characteristics, polarization and electrolysis. They are now expanding their set-up with a short stack kit, which can measure flow distribution, electrical contact resistance and sealing gas tightness .
- Weeber, K., P. Horstmann, and J. Miersch, Robert Bosch GmbH, Changes in Power Generation and Distribution and the role of SOFC. in 13th EFCF 2018.
- Bertoldi, M., O. Bucheli, and A.V. Ravagni, SOLIDpower SpA and HTceramix SA, Development, Manufacturing and Deployment of SOC-Based Products at SOLIDpower. in 13th EFCF, 2018.
- Leah, R., A. Bone, E. Hammer, A. Selcuk, R. Mahfujur, C. Andy, S. Mukerjee, and M. Selby, Ceres Power Ltd., Development progress on the Ceres Power ‘SteelCell®’ technology platform: enhanced performance and accelarting commercial development. 2018.
- Harman, J., P. Barnard, R. Leah, L. Rees, A. Ballard, T. Domanski, C. Nobbs, J. Ryley, S. Mukerjee, and M. Selby, Ceres Power Ltd, Devopment of a compact 5 kWe Ceres Power ‘SteelCell®*stack for multiple applications. in 13th EFCF, 2018.
- Mai, A., F. Fleischhauer, R. Denzler, J.G. Grolig, M. Dold, and A. Schuler, Hexis Ltd., HEXIS Galileo 1000 N and HEXIS’ next Generation SOFC System. in 13th EFCF, 2018.
- Geipel, C., K. Herbrig, F. Mittmann, M. Pötschke, L. Reichel, T. Strohbach, A. Surrey, and C. Walter, sunfire GmbH, Stack Development and Industrial Scale-Up. in 13th EFCF, 2018.
- Schefold, J., A. Brisse, and H. Poepke, 23,000 h steam electrolysis with an electrolyte supported solid oxide cell. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2017. 42(19): p. 13415-13426.
- Schefold, J. and A. Brisse, EIFER, Long-term Fast Power Cycling at Solid Oxide Electrolyser Cells. in 22nd WHEC, 2018.
- Brisse, A., M. Zeller, B. Ludwig, and J. Brabandt, EIFER, Solid Oxide Electrolyser System operational at the H2 refuelling station of Karlsruhe. in 13th EFCF, 2018.
- Coquox, P., N. Coton, and R. Ihringer, Fiaxell Sarl, Short stack kit for the Open FlangeTM Set-up using soft mica seals. in 22nd WHEC, 2018.