Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


MetaFuel Report Summary

Project ID: 674137

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MetaFuel (High Temperature Methanol Fuel Cell)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Siqens has developed a new highly efficient and production cost optimized fuel cell system Ecoport 800. Siqens addresses the dynamically growing market of renewable energy for remote locations. Besides the clean and noiseless power generation Ecoport 800 has several features that have been optimized. Ecoport produces up to 800 Watt electrical power from normal technical methanol which is an easy available and cheap fuel. In addition, Siqens is about to extended the operability at hot (+50°C) and cold temperatures (-20°C). Market research has shown very high interest from customers from different field for either use at high or at low temperatures.
In the Horizon2020 SME project Siqens is about to transfer Ecoport 800 from an autarkic running prototype to a certified product. In addition, optimizations for improved customer value will be implemented. The measures for improvements and higher product maturity are flanked by market studies, marketing actions to prepare the market entry and field test together with first customers.
During the second period of the project solid technical advances have been achieved and first customer trials have increased the understanding of the exact customer benefit and the integration needs in different applications. In December 2016 a field tests of a complete integrated system which was remotely operated was successfully finished. Important steps in quality control, purchase and built-up of production have been made. Improvements of components for functionality and for production have increased the system performance and the system production times. Further progress in the last reporting period of the project will allow readiness for volume production.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

As result of the second period Siqens has shifted its interest to professional markets. With Ecoport 800 Siqens will fill a gap in the energy field for remote, distributed and small energy generators for IoT devices (sensors, telecommunication, and actuators). First key customers in remote asset management have been found for early commercialization and product integration. These markets offer concrete and high commercialization potential which has not yet been seen in the fuel cell market. First projects with key customers will start already in early 2017. The analysis of the markets also has now led to a concept for a methanol supply which is adapted to the different needs of the customers (from 20 L. to 1.000 L.) Supply chain partners for bottling and distribution of Methanol within central Europe has been found. The developed solutions together with the low price for technical methanol will reduce fueling cost extensively against competing fuel cell systems.
On the technical side important steps in the product development has been made. Several laboratory and field tests have been made with overall 8 prototype systems which includes test for long term operation. A field test with beta-prototype has revealed a very stable operation at a remote site. In addition, a complete remote control have the system in another field test has been demonstrated. In quality management important steps has been made together with the suppliers which also lay the basis for fast and cost-effective production. The design of the pre-series system together with the built up of a production unit will soon allow a commercial relevant production capacity. The first fully integrated system with internal controller and all relevant components has been produced in the new production facilities. Important progress in certification tests will allow a CE certification of the complete system early in 2017.
Application engineering was done for the Ecoport especially targeting the specifications for first customer field tests. With the development of the battery box some demands of costumers like a variation of power levels could be met. Customer relevant hardware topics like connections or housing have been developed to a pre-series status. The software especially for interfaces and remote control features was developed. Cost reduction measures have been very successful implemented by outsourcing of components (electronic parts), massively reduces built-up times, reduced costs for central components like MEAs or plastic components like the Media Unit (tooling).
DPS has carried out process optimization, waste reduction and improved quality control in the MEA manufacturing that has successfully reduced the price of the MEA and improved the quality.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

With Ecoport 800 Siqens aims at implementing a new industry standard for power on demand. Fuel cell generations before have specific advantages like clean, noiseless and maintenance free operation. Siqens will add to this economical aspects by reducing operations costs and CAPEX. By this means an alternative to combustion engines (diesel or gasoline generators) could be implemented. With currently more than 62 GW installed power worldwide in 2015 diesel gensets are strongly taken part in the exhaust of climate-damaging gases. In addition, the high noise generation locally leads to high disturbance of humans and the environment. With upcoming responsibility for environmental issues which more and more will be seen also in emerging markets loud, polluting and inefficient diesel genset will no longer be accepted. This is a chance for Siqens concept of a noiseless, clean and affordable fuel cell system. On the other hand Siqens could help to initiate a transition by being a spearhead in technology for off-grid power. As Ecoport 800 is a highly desired ecofriendly and reliable back up for regenerative sources like wind and sun, Siqens regards itself as enabler photovoltaic in off-grid applications. In e-mobility Ecoport technology can help to improve the performance by increased range of e-vehicles. Helping other clean technologies like batteries or PV to improve the offer to the customers will increase the ecological impact even beyond Ecoport 800 sole applications.

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