Working towards Mass Manufactured, Low Cost and Robust SOFC stacks

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

Key Objectives of the project

The project addresses a novel design solution for lightweight SOFC stacks that decouples the thermal stresses within the stack and at the same time allows optimal sealing and contacting. In this way the capability for thermal cycling is enhanced and degradation of contacting reduced.

The design is highly suitable for industrial manufacturing and automated assembly. The industrial partners will build up the necessary tools and appliances for low cost production of repeating units and the automated quality control, stacking and assembly of stacks.


Challenges/issues addressed

Lightweight SOFC stacks are currently being developed for stationary applications such as residential CHP units, for automotive applications such as APU and for portable devices. They supply electrical efficiencies of up to 60%, high fuel flexibility, being able to operate on syn-gas from Diesel reforming as well as LPG, methane or hydrogen, and promising costs due to greatly reduced amounts of steel interconnect material.

In mobile and portable applications the requirements for thermal cycling are high. It is therefore essential that lightweight stacks have excellent thermal cycling and rapid start-up capabilities.


Technical approach/objectives

The stack design perused here supplies a compensation of thermo-mechanical stresses between cell and cell frame / repeating unit. Thin steel sheets with protective coating are used for the sake of cost reduction and extended stack lifetime, also for stationary applications.

The project looks into various facets of improved components (sealing, interconnects, contacting, cells) from the point of view of cheap mass manufacturing and automated assembly.

 Key milestones include

Key milestones include
MS1 Design Freeze D1.0 M07
MS19 Start of long-term testing M16
MS15 Design Freeze D2.0 M18

Expected socio and economic impact

The project’s main impacts are on quality production of SOFC stacks for stationary and also mobile applications and cost reduction of such stacks. With both these goals combined a major contribution will be made to lower the cost of fuel cell products as well as supplying components robust enough for everyday use in the hands of ‘normal’ consumers. This support to the case of market introduction of fuel cells in Europe will also lead to socio-economic effects of increased industrial competitiveness, increased numbers of employment in this sector and a leading edge of European manufacturing consortia over international competitors.

Project reference: 
SP1-JTI-FCH.2010.3.2: Next generation cell and stack designs
Project type: 
Research and technological development
Contract type: 
Collaborative Project
Start date: 
Sunday, January 1, 2012
End date: 
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
30 months (originally), extended to 42 months
Project cost: 
€ 4,727,248.40
Project funding: 
€ 2,067,975

University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Other participating organisations: 
Name Country
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH Germany
BORIT Belgium
Rohwedder Micro Assembly GmbH                     Germany
CSIC Spain
Bekaert Belgium
Turbocoating Italy
Solidpower SpA Italy
Publisheable Reports: 
S. Rodríguez-López, V. A. C. Haanappel, A.Durán, F. Muñoz, G. C. Mather, M. J. Pascual, S. M. Gross-Barsnick; Glass-ceramic seals in the system MgO-BaO-B2O3-SiO2 operating under simulated SOFC conditions
S. Rodríguez-López, R. Comesaña, J. del Val, A. Durán, V. M. Justo, F. C. Serbena, M. J. Pascual; Laser cladding of glass-ceramic sealants for SOFC
N. Margaritis , L. Blum , P. Batfalsky , D. Bohmann , S. Ceschini , Q. Fang , D. Federmann , J. Kroemer , R. Peters , R. Steinberger-Wilckens; Status of Light Weight Cassette Design of SOFC