Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


The main development challenges related to the commercialisation of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology and SOFC systems, in the focus of the current project, lie in reduction of its cost, increasing lifetime and efficiency. SOFC stacks are the key components of SOFC systems, form approximately one third of the total system cost. Stacks with high performance and efficiency are required for high system efficiency.

The HELTSTACK project combines the top European know-how in single cells, coatings, gaskets, and stack designs to produce a novel 1 kW SOFC stack, together with a proof of concept of a 10 kW SOFC stack. Multiple improvements over the state-of-the-art in cost, performance, efficiency, and reliability will be stated.

The project is based on the products of industrial partners Elcogen AS (Estonia; cells) and Elcogen OY (Finland; stacks), and motivated by their interest to further develop and commercialise their products. Other project partners include 2 research institutes: National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics (NICPB, Estonia) supports cell development and coordinates their use in stacks; VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd (VTT, Finland) provides stack design and evaluation. Transfer of knowledge in HELTSTACK promotes harmonised development of cell, stack and their characterisation methods.

NICPB provides Elcogen OY knowledge about achieving optimal cell properties and their adjustment for stack production, also about cell design for optimal electrochemical performance. Elcogen AS provides VTT knowledge about cell mechanical properties important for stack production. VTT provides Elcogen AS knowledge about long term cell testing. Elcogen AS provides NICPB knowledge about ceramic production challenges, to improve cell production efficiency. All manufacturing methods, designs and materials are chosen to be suitable for mass production and lead to decreased costs compared to current state-of-the-art. HELTSTACK outcomes will form the basis for both Elcogen companies’ commercial SOFC cell and stack technology subject to immediate commercialisation.


The final outcome of the project is the technology for producing a novel 1 kW SOFC stack, and a proof of concept of a 10 kW SOFC stack, demonstrated using realistic fuel for stationary power generation applications.

HELTSTACK covers the following strongly inter-linked topics and sub-objectives:
• Simplification of design and manufacturing methods of cells, stacks and/or stack modules (core power generation units)
• Adaptation of cell and/or stack designs to larger scale applications and system designs
• Cell and stack design improvements
• Improvement and validation of existing manufacturing methods to increase manufacturing yield and reduce product variation and manufacturing cost
• Improved manufacturing methods supporting product robustness and cost reduction and eliminating failure modes in existing manufacturing processes

The HELTSTACK project has been organised into 2 research focused work packages (WP2-WP3), which cover the most important steps to achieve a commercially viable stack. Additionally, 3 WPs help to govern the transfer of knowledge between the partners via broad skills development (WP4), dissemination of new knowledge and public outreach (WP5) and general management of the HELTSTACK project (WP1).


The overall strategy of HELTSTACK is to exploit complementary expertise gathered through the transfer of knowledge (ToK) programme for: 1) research based innovation in the SOFC stack (cell development and stack design), 2) sustaining collaboration between Academy-Industry partners, 3) increasing visibility for and impact of research on European knowledge based economy.

The HELTSTACK project has the overarching objective to gain a better understanding of the 1 kW stack characteristics, thus a better possibility to serve Elcogens‘ customers; and the ultimate goal to come up with a proof of concept of a novel, low temperature SOFC stack for 10 kW power range, i.e. after having verified the latter’s design and conducted all necessary testing, thus enabling to serve better large system manufacturers’ expectations.

The HELTSTACK results will be directly usable in offering new solutions for personalised/customised HotBox development and integration, followed by sales and marketing thereof (by Elcogen OY). The HELTSTACK innovation offers both technological and cost-efficiency benefits – the HELTSTACK SOFC stack is working at a lower temperature, which allows lower cost and longer working time. In other words, the HELSTACK solution will be much more cost-efficient for SOFC system developers – this is one of the driving forces of the market.
Furthermore, novel application fields based on the innovative HELTSTACK SOFC stack will include high-temperature electrolyzers: usage of technologies developed in HELTSTACK to provide alternative sources for storage of electricity from non-fossil fuel sources (such as solar, wind as well as ocean, nuclear), which is a new and very promising domain in global energetics, lessening the “ecological footprint” (the sales and marketing related to the electrolyzers will be the task of Elcogen AS).

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Life Sciences
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