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Paving the way for solid oxide fuel cells and a green future

Since high production costs hamper the market penetration of fuel cells, one of the most effective technologies for energy conversion, the multi-national and inter-sectoral consortium of the SOSLeM project is determined to improve production processes as well as developing and applying novel manufacturing technologies for solid oxide fuel cell stacks (SOFC), paving the way into a green future.

Fuel cells convert the chemical energy stored in a fuel, e.g. hydrogen into electricity. They are one of the most effective technologies for energy conversion known so far and have the potential to significantly contribute to future decentralised electric power grids with a variety of technical advantages. In particular, stationary fuel cells will be able to reduce CO2 emissions as well as dependencies on fossil fuels. Furthermore, they may help to compensate efficiently load variations in the power grid caused by fluctuating renewable energy generation, e.g. from solar or wind energy sources. The SOSLeM project aims at reducing manufacturing costs for fuel cell stacks while at the same time making production more resource efficient and realising environmental benefits. Specifically, the project will develop new and optimised processes for the production of the fuel cell cassettes by lean manufacturing processes, improved sealing adhesion on cassettes, using anode contact layer laser welding and automation of the welding process. Furthermore, SOSLeM strives to improve stack preparation by advanced glass curing and stack conditioning and improved gas stations and enable environmental benefits by on-site nickel removal from waste water. In addition, the project will reduce production time and costs and improve flexibility by large furnace arrange¬ment, introducing a multi-stack production station. These improvements will sum up to a reduction of manufacturing costs of about 70%, leading to decreased capital costs of about 2.500 €/kW. The SOSLeM project started in April 2016 and will run until 2019. Its impact will affect many domains, such as the production line, production costs, or after-sales costs. The fast feedback of a powerful end-of-line quality monitoring tool enables to reduce the response time inside the manufacturing line to counteract against loss of quality or reliability. Hence, less rejects increase performance and efficiency of the production line. Furthermore, production costs are lowered by the fast recognition of defects, which reduces the amount of outage, and the identification of the root cause of outage empowers the manufacturer to implement countermeasures. Moreover, it is crucial for the SOFC technology to increase the reliability of the stacks, since outage at customer sites provokes an image loss for this new technology in the public and causes extra maintenance costs. The lifetime of the ceramic and glass-based SOFC stacks depends heavily on the structural integrity of the brittle material in use. Therefore, one goal is the detection of material defects at the end-of-line (sealing failure, poor contact due to assembly issues, improper gas distribution). In summary, the impact of SOSLeM has quantum-leap potential for European manufac-turing and market penetration of solid oxide fuel cells in the highly competitive global fuel cell markets. For more information on the project and latest news visit our website:


Fuel Cells


Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy