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H2020

SOSLeM Report Summary

Project ID: 700667
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.8.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SOSLeM (Solid Oxide Stack Lean Manufacturing)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Fuel cells convert the chemical energy stored in a fuel, e.g. hydrogen into electricity. They are one of the most effective technologies for energy conversion known so far and have the potential to significantly contribute to future decentralised electric power grids with a variety of technical advantages. In particular, stationary fuel cells will be able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as well as dependencies on fossil fuels and may also help to compensate efficiently load variations in the power grid caused by fluctuating renewable energy generation, e.g. from solar or wind energy sources. However, market penetration of fuel cells is currently hampered by comparably high production costs. SOSLeM is tackling this problem by improving production processes as well as developing and applying novel manufacturing technologies for fuel cell stacks.

The SOSLeM project aims at reducing manufacturing costs for fuel cell stacks while at the same time making production more resource efficient and realising environmental benefits. Specifically, the project will:
• Develop new and optimised processes for the production of the fuel cell cassettes by lean manufacturing processes, improved sealing adhesion on cassettes, using anode contact layer laser welding and automation of the welding process.
• Improve stack preparation by advanced glass curing and stack conditioning and improved gas stations.
• Enable environmental benefits by on-site nickel removal from waste water.
• Reduce production time and costs and improve flexibility by large furnace arrangement, introduction of a multi-stack production station.

The improvements will sum up to a reduction of manufacturing costs of about 70%, leading to decreased capital costs of about 2.500 €/kW.

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

During the first part of the SOSLeM project, significant results have been achieved. The main results that have been achieved by the end of the first reporting period include the following points:
• Improvement of the manufacturing process of cassettes.
• Definition of the implementation of optimized stack test system that will help stack preparation by advanced stack curing and conditioning.
• Evaluation of alternative solutions for nickel removal from waste water.
• Generation of environmental benefit and improved stack durability performances through alternative protective coating of cassettes.
• Production of various dissemination tools, including factsheets, non-scientific articles and a project website.
• Facilitation of smooth progress by holding regular consortium meetings.

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)

The SOSLeM project will have significant impacts in the following main domains:
• Performance and efficiency of the production line: Fast feedback of a powerful end-of-line quality monitoring-tool enables to reduce the response time inside the manufacturing line to counteract against loss of quality or reliability. And less rejects increase performance and efficiency of the production line.
• Production costs: Fast recognition of defects reduces the amount of outage. And identification of the root cause of outage empowers the manufacturer to implement countermeasures.
• After-sales costs: For the SOFC technology it is crucial to increase the reliability of the stacks. Outage at customer sites provokes an image loss for this new technology in the public and causes extra maintenance costs.
• Lifetime: The lifetime of the ceramic and glass-based SOFC stacks depends heavily on the structural integrity of the brittle material in use. One goal is the detection of material defects at the end-of-line (sealing failure, poor contact due to assembly issues, improper gas distribution).

In summary, the impact of SOSLeM has quantum-leap potential for European manufacturing and market penetration of solid oxide fuel cells in the highly competitive global fuel cell markets.

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