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Co-generation of hydrogen and electricity with high-temperature fuel cells


This topic calls for the development of a solid oxide fuel cell based system to produce hydrogen and electricity from methane rich sources (natural gas or bio-methane) with high efficiency.

  • Design and construction of a prototype system, with a fuel cell stack capable to produce at least 20kg/day of hydrogen from for example natural gas;
    • with efficiency of at least 65% at the design point calculated as (kWh of DC power out + kWh H2 out based on LHV)/(kWh NG in based on LHV);
    • With hydrogen to power modulation between 0 (only electricity produced) and 1 (50% electricity and 50% hydrogen produced).
  • Testing of the system for at least 1000 hours producing electricity and hydrogen at a purity of 99.9%, including at least 5 cold starts;
  • Perform a lifecycle analysis to provide CO2 and energy footprint of the system and compare these to other relevant ways of hydrogen and power generation;
  • The design, on paper, of a full-scale production unit that could supply hydrogen to a hydrogen station with 200 kg/day capacity at cost below 4.5 €/kg (fossil base) or 7.0 €/kg (renewables based);
  • An investigation of how potential heat output could be used in a distributed hydrogen production situation, for example to provide cooling of hydrogen.

Consortia should include at least one SOFC technology provider with proven experience with SOFC systems, at least an equipment producer and at least one partner with experience in hydrogen station operation to ensure the whole value chain of this technology is present in the project.

Project proposals should show a clear route to market.

Projects are expected to start at TRL 4 and to reach at least TRL 6.

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 4 million would allow the specific challenges to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected duration: max 4 years

A maximum of 1 project may be funded under this topic.

High temperature fuel cells are typically used to produce power and heat from natural gas or bio-methane at high efficiency. In this process, a hydrogen containing syngas is often produced as an intermediate step.

The specific challenge of this topic is to convert part of this syngas into a hydrogen stream, while maintaining the high efficiency of the overall system. The system would thus supply power, hydrogen and possibly heat, with flexibility to modulate between these products to cope with changing demand.

The results of a project should enable the development of a distributed hydrogen production system and stationary applications.

The project is expected to demonstrate the potential for high temperature fuel cells to produce hydrogen and power at higher efficiency than conventional technologies (on-site SMR and grid power) and to bring this technology close to the demonstration stage. This is expected to lead to:

  • more efficient energy use and lower cost of hydrogen production
  • more energy efficient electricity grid stabilisation compared to existing technologies (mainly gas turbines)
  • lower cost of grid stabilisation compared to existing technologies (mainly gas turbines) because the system is used continuously and not only as back-up