Innovative fabrication routes and materials for METal and anode supported PROton conducting fuel CELLs

Framework Programme: 
Call for proposals: 
Application area: 
Stationary power production and CHP

Key Objectives of the project

METPROCELL´s aim is to develop innovative Proton Conducting Fuel Cells (PCFCs) by using new electrolytes and electrode materials and implementing cost effective fabrication routes. Following a complementary approach, the cell architecture will be optimised on both metal and anode supports, with the aim of improving the performance, durability and cost effectiveness of the cells.

Specific objectives:

  • Development of electrolytes (e.g. BTi02, BCY10/BCY10) and electrodes (e.g. NiO-BIT02 and NiO-BCY10/BCY10 anodes) with enhanced properties for improved PCFCs dedicated to 500-600°C.
  • Suppress the need of post- sintering steps through the development of alternative manufacturing routes using thermal spray technologies and plasma EVD.
  • Bring the proof of concept of PCFCs by the set-up and validation of short stacks in two relevant industrial systems, namely APU and gas/micro CHP.


Challenges/issues addressed

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the fundamental reaction mechanisms will be a key issue to obtain electrodes and electrolyte materials with radically enhanced properties.
  • Gain a deeper understanding in how to shape electrodes and electrolytes for PCFCs using conventional wet chemical methods.
  • Decrease the system costs implementing supports of common metals. The potential compositional and/or structural degradation of the support limit the implementation of conventional processing routes and makes the suppression of post-sintering steps necessary. Thus, innovative fabrication routs will be investigated, i.e. detonation spraying and/or plasma EVD to achieve gas tight electrolytes and atmospheric plasma spraying to achieve electrodes with sufficient mechanical strength.  
  • Asses the potential of both metal and anode supported cell architectures to obtain the next generation of PCFCs.  
  • Up-scale the manufacturing procedures for the production of flat Stack Cells with a footprint of 12 x 12 cm and then manufacture and test the first complete PCFC 5-cells stack unit.
  • Assess the PCFCs as electrolyser.


Technical approach/objectives          

The METPROCELL project structure is broken down following the focus on material development for novel electrolytes, electrodes and supports as well as on processing methods for the deposition of thin layered cell components and shaping of functionally graded supports. The technical work of the project is based on the following stages:

1) Collection of technical specifications for the implementation of the PCFCs in the target applications (i.e. APU and gas/micro-CHP) and definition of test protocols.

2) Development of novel electrolyte and electrode materials and the up-scaling of the manufacturing procedure of the same. One of the most important deliverables will be a new generation of electrolytes more tolerant in CO2 and dedicated to 500-600°C.

3) Development of both novel functionally graded porous supports (anode type and metallic) and innovative manufacturing routes for the deposition of thin layered cell components without post-processing needs (i.e. thermal spraying and/or plasma EVD as alternative to conventional routes like screen printing and tape casting).

4) Up-scaling of manufacturing procedures and testing/validation of the developed PCFCs under relevant service conditions at lab-scale. The main outcome will be 2 generations of short 5 cells stacks.

5) Proof of concept of the developed PCFCs in two industrial power units, namely an APU and a gas/micro CHP.


Expected socio and economic impact

The PCFC technology could significantly contribute to industrialise the fuel cell technology by improving the cell characteristics (thermal cycling, heat transfer, current collection..) and lowering drastically the system costs. The following impacts are expected:

  • Reduction of the manufacturing steps, through the implementation of innovative fabrication routs with none post-sintering needs.  
  • The possibility to reduce the service temperature under 600 ºC will be notably useful to prolong the service life of the metal supports potentially beyond current benchmarks of 40.000 hours.
  • The new PCFCs may offer some new further advantages for the environment such as higher fuel utilisation in comparison to the SOFC technology.
  • Increase of system efficiency, through a better utilization of the heat produced and a better BoP, a lower operating temperatures down to 600 ºC, a reduction of the energy consumption of at least 7- 10% and the elimination of the fuel dilution (since water is formed at the cathode).
Project reference: 
SP1-JTI-FCH.2010.3.1 - Materials development for cells, stacks and balance of plant (BoP)
Project type: 
Supporting action
Contract type: 
Collaborative Project
Start date: 
Thursday, December 1, 2011
End date: 
Sunday, May 31, 2015
36 months (originally), extended to 42 months
Project cost: 
€ 3,447,874.39
Project funding: 
€ 1,822,255


Dr.-Ing. María Parco
Other participating organisations: 
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) France
Ceramic Powder Technology AS Norway
Publisheable Reports: 
17)P. Batocchi, F. Mauvy, S. Fourcade and M. Parco Electrochimica Acta 145 Electrical and electrochemical properties of architectured electrodes based on perovskite and A2MO4-type oxides for Protonic Ceramic Fuel Cell
18)N. Bonanos, A. Huijser and F.W. Poulsen Solid State Ionics 275 H/D isotope effects in high temperature proton conductors