Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

LARGE-SOFC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 19739
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Finland

Super power plants

Advances in technology will allow solid oxide fuel cells to produce much more electric power. This offers yet another potential solution to promoting sustainable energy.
Super power plants
Technology is constantly looking for new ways to produce more efficient energy at lower costs and with fewer emissions. Improving on existing solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology may offer one way of creating cleaner energy. SOFC is an electrochemical conversion device that produces electricity from oxidising a fuel, and is characterised by electrolyte material (solid oxide or ceramic). It is generally efficient, stable and cost-effective but requires higher operating temperatures and longer start-up times.

The EU-funded project 'Towards a large SOFC power plant' (Large-SOFC) investigated a new model of power plants based on upgraded SOFC technology. It focused primarily on developing concepts, components and sub-systems for SOFC-based power plants that could possibly generate hundreds of kilowatts of power up to several megawatts.

The project aimed to identify how best to move from the kilowatt level to the megawatt level in SOFC, keeping the cost below EUR 1,000 per kilowatt at the production level and aiming for 50,000 hours durability. It also wanted to achieve efficiencies over the current 60 % electric power and 80 % for combined heat and power (CHP).

The project team analysed, modelled and validated the proposed system and sub-systems, considering balance of plant (BoP), industrial scale and fuel flexibility. It also examined socioeconomic issues that could affect installation and operation of SOFC systems, including types of fuel, connection to grid, safety and life cycle assessment (LCA).

The Large-SOFC project elaborated several viable models. In one model using bio-methanol, the life cycle analysis conducted yielded favourable environmental performances for a SOFC system in comparison to a conventional power plant. New SOFC models can certainly play a role in a greener future.

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