Under the Seventh Framework Programme, scientists have delivered metal supported solid oxide fuel cells to the fuel cell market. Consisting of a porous metallic substrate, thin electrodes and electrolyte ceramic layers, advanced materials have been especially developed for this technology.
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) produce electricity at high efficiency using natural gas and biogas, amongst others. The new concept was adopted by the Robust Advanced Materials for metal Supported SOFC project (RAMSES) in which the relevant problems, such as poor cycling performance and chromium poisoning of the cathode, were addressed.
Based on metal supported cells (MSC) – considered to be the next generation of SOFCs – the intrinsic mechanical failures and manufacturing costs can be minimised.
The project designed materials, components and processes especially for MSCs. A coated metallic substrate was modified and fulfilled the low-cost targets and sinterability in a low-oxidising atmosphere and oxidation resistance.
Additionally, a modified Ni-8YSZ anode and a nickelate cathode were found to reach low polarisation resistances of 0.37 and less than 0.20 Ohm.cm² at 600°C respectively. The progressive implementation of the materials led to improved performances in tubular MSC with a durability of over 500 hours and with 500 thermal cycles achieved.
The European Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), alongside the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE), identified the major barriers to SOFC market uptake as cost and durability.
The RAMSES project in this way was able to contribute to the fuel cells market by making SOFCs robust, affordable and likely to play a role in the future of the energy sector.