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NANOCOFC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 32308
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Sweden

Uniting the EU and China on fuel cell research

An EU-funded consortium of European and Chinese research centres and industrial partners have advanced fuel cell (FC) technology. Such collaborations help foster common goals and ways of achieving them benefiting all involved.
Uniting the EU and China on fuel cell research
Multifunctional materials have become an important area of research in recent years. Pursuit of ever more complex and high-performing components and systems calls for parallel development of the materials of which they will be made.

Multifunctional materials illustrate the adage that the whole is more than the sum of its parts – their overall functionality is greater than that predicted by individual properties. Nanotechnology focused on engineering functional systems on the scale of atoms or molecules has provided an important boost to the realm of multifunctional materials.

Molecules or very small portions of materials have very different and interesting properties from those seen in the bulk material. Numerous research centres are interested in nanocomposite multifunctional materials, among them the Sino-Swedish Intermediate and Low Temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (IT/LTSOFC) network consisting of 14 top universities and institutes and 6 industrial partners from China and Sweden.

Scientists sought to extend EU-Sino-Turkish collaborations including the Sino-Swedish IT/LTSOFC network in the area of nanocomposite materials and FC applications with EU funding of the Nanocofc project. The consortium consisted of seven European countries, one UN organisation and four Chinese partners from the IT/LTSOFC network.

Researchers focused on materials and techniques relating to nanocomposites to develop low-cost, high-performance FCs with enhanced marketability. Technological advances enabled enhanced power output at relatively low temperatures, virtually guaranteeing successful application of Nanocofc’s LTSOFC technology.

Improved EU-China collaboration and cooperation in the important multidisciplinary field of nanocomposite multifunctional materials for FCs should speed the rate at which this alternative and renewable energy is adopted.

This EC-China Nanocofc network was funded under the European Union Framework Programme and took part in a recent Nano Green Energy session together with the World Resources Forum on 21-23 October 2012 in Beijing: Selected presentations from the session can be found on the project website:

A breakthrough has been made in the electrolyte-free fuel cell thanks to the EC-China Nanocofc project and its achievements regarding nanocomposites with multi-functionalities. The result has been a move towards a new fuel cell R&D strategy no longer based on conventional fuel cell technology invented more than 170 years ago, to one based on the electrolyte as a core. This breakthrough was selected as a Research Highlight in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, 2011, 6, 330.

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