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New Generation Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Final Report Summary - NEWGENSOFC (New Generation Solid Oxide Fuel Cells)

New Generation Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (NewGenSOFC) has been a four-year, EU-funded FP7 project which ran between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2017. This project combined sector-leading partners from clean energy projects to achieve allied goals related to: 1) low-cost fuel cell manufacture, 2) low carbon energy generation and 3) movement towards a hydrogen economy. Currently most fuel cell components and systems are produced in small quantities, with considerable manual input. To reduce costs and increase quality, cost-effective manufacturing technologies are required for the medium term. We have been pilot-testing and costing these manufacturing techniques to integrate mSOFC into a commercial micro combined heat and power (mCHP) system operating on natural gas, to improve the efficiency of current-day domestic boilers. This has created lasting impacts for all Partners by stimulating commercial activity by reducing system costs, with wider benefit for the EU economy and the environment. The external website of the project can be found at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/NewGenSOFC/index.aspx

The project has fostered cooperation between SOFC technologists, ceramic manufacturers and fuel cell academics, to establish new ceramic fuel cell manufacturing capability in Europe for sustainable distributed energy solutions. The University of Birmingham (UoB) has been coordinator with significant experience in coordinating such projects. The Partners (Adelan, Kale, Gebze Technical University (GTU) and UoB) have progressed the commercial validation of the technical, social and financial prospects of a specific fuel cell product based on microtubular SOFC (mSOFC) technology. The strategic long-term vision is to innovate and commercialise low-cost mSOFCs for household energy generation, based on patented designs, integrated systems and prototypes developed in other projects. We envisage micro combined heat and power (mCHP) systems will eventually replace household boilers in a transition towards the hydrogen economy, and early, high-cost prototypes are already being demonstrated. NewGenSOFC has built on previous EU funded projects and has run in parallel with several international efforts to reduce mSOFC costs, innovate mSOFC based systems, and demonstrate mSOFC prototypes.

The project has created unique scientific, engineering and commercial synergies between European Partners with complementary skill-sets. Significant progress was made in all 8 Work Packages (WPs). This was achieved during secondments totalling approximately 72 months providing cross-sectorial training opportunities to 6 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and 5 Experienced Researchers (ERs). Project highlights include the development of a commercially verified mSOFC manufacturing costs model, the fabrication of small demonstrator mSOFC devices, a detailed report on market and environmental impacts and a new international online MSc SOFC teaching module covering topics from background concepts through to application areas and commercial products. The Partners consider the project has strengthen the European supply chain of mSOFC technology, diversifying SOFC supply globally. To support the growing fuel cell and hydrogen technology industry, the Partners have supported international research training opportunities and events for young scientists to develop careers in the field and high profile networking events raise the profile of the technology within wider commercial circles.