Fuel cells and hydrogen potentially reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, facilitating the increased use of renewable energy sources, and raising overall efficiencies of conversion. They could contribute to a sustainable energy system with zero or minimal polluting effects on our natural habitat. The high temperature fuel cell technologies, Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) and Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC), have the potential for high electrical efficiency, 55-60%, and total efficiency up to 90% for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units, with reduced emissions. SOFC systems have been demonstrated in commercial applications in the order of one to hundreds of kWe and have the potential for scale up to several MW stationary units. Such power systems offer high fuel flexibility: from hydrogen to a large variety of hydrocarbon fuels, both renewable and fossil.

 Two aspects are critical before the SOFC’s potential can be exploited to the full: service lifetime and production cost. Sufficient lifetime of SOFC systems under continuous operation (>20 000 hours) is a challenge for the durability of all components. Though there are difficulties also in finding auxiliary components with sufficient lifetime and reliability under SOFC operating requirements, the main challenge for extended durability of SOFC systems is to have a really robust stack. Stack degradation in steady-state and transient operating conditions is the main limiting factor of the system lifetime. Innovative cell and stack designs are called for that exploit the high performance of SOFCs while improving durability. The life-time target for 2015 based on FCH JU’s Multi-annual implementation plan (MAIP) is 20 000 hours for large SOFC systems. At least 40 000 hours lifetime will be required in the longer term for large scale CHP systems.

 NELLHI aims to target these criticalities with a joint effort from leading European players in the field. To make high performance, high efficiency, low emissions and low cost a reality.



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