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Next-generation Solid Oxide Fuel Cell stack and hot box solution for small stationary applications

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - OxiGEN (Next-generation Solid Oxide Fuel Cell stack and hot box solution for small stationary applications)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2021-06-30

OxiGEN aims at developing an innovative solid oxide fuel cell platform, including an all-ceramic stack design and a modular hotbox, for small stationary micro-CHP applications. The objectives are to achieve a higher durability and simpler design, which can fulfill the customers’ needs for long lifetime, high efficiency and low cost, in micro-CHP and other segments. Such a system will reduce the lifetime CO2 emissions for a combined heating and electricity generation system while also reducing the financial burden for the customer (individual house owners or small commercial activates). The overall conclusion is that even with an optimized industrial production of the device the economics are not clearly more favourable than the incumbent systems. Technically, not all challenges could be solved although progress was made.
The project team worked towards completing the technical milestones throughout this project. A thorough modelling-based analysis resulted in strong recommendations for the envelope of a SOFC hotbox in both residential and commercial applications. The major finding was that the optimal hotbox size is strongly correlated to the number of times the system is required to shut down. Much technical advancement was also achieved. An innovative, all-ceramic stack was developed to reach the target output specified by the hotbox specification work package and a unique hotbox was designed to for thermal, gas, and electrical control. Several iterations were developed which improved durability and reduced the size and weight of the hotbox. The electrolyte and anode layers were analysed and improved upon. The innovative material sets were incorporated into button cells and the short stack to demonstrate the effectiveness of the material improvements. Results of this work was publicized through public deliverables within the project, through the final project presentation, at the European Hydrogen Week, and also by detailed technical reports in appropriate journals and conferences.
Three exploitation paths have been identified for Key Exploitable Results (Hot box specifications, in particular regarding size and operation mode (ENGIE), Hot box for Saint-Gobain stack (Saint-Gobain) and Novel electrolyte composition with improved conductivity and stability than YSZ (joint result SINTEF + Saint-Gobain) through commercialisation, new research project or Licensing.
A DC efficiency of 50% was achieved.
The target of 30% improvement of electrolyte conductivity was overpassed with an intrinsic conductivity 350% higher than the reference.
The total cost of ownership for the final device has been estimated but are based on industrial assumptions, in parallel we have developed a total cost of ownership model for many European countries with and without incentives.

During the project, we couldn't get to a micro-CHP hot box tested in a system as it was initially planned because we discovered unexpected challenges during the implementation of the project.
We made a lot of good progress in several parts of the project:
· A solution for stable ceramic manifolds was developed
· The size and weight and of the hotbox was reduced with a path identified for further reduction
· A gas control scheme was developed at the system level in line with that required for stable hotbox operation
With the work carried out during the project, we now believe that our hot box technology with co-sintered ceramic membrane could be competitive in several years.
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