Project: Development of a combined Hydrogen and Power production system with High Temperature PEM fuel cells

The scope of the proposed project is the development, design and manufacture of a combined system for the production of hydrogen, electrical energy and heat from various resources such as conventional fuels (propane, LPG, natural gas) as well as renewable fuels like biogas. Hydrogen will be produced by reformation of the previous fuels with steam. The produced hydrogen will be used for the co-generation of electrical energy and heat with the use of fuel cell stacks of nominal capacity of 1 kWc. The units will be functionally coupled aiming at uninterrupted heat and power production. _x000D_ The objective of the project is the development of cutting-edge technology and the demonstration of its viability with the final aim of commercial application. The most important advantage of the proposed activity is the use of various gaseous fuels within the same unit by both conventional and renewable sources._x000D_ One of the key objectives of the project is the establishment of the application of biogas - a waste treatment product- as an energy carrier resulting in a completely renewable and friendly to the environment process. Its use for the production of energy is characterized by almost zero emissions of pollutants. The carbon dioxide that is produced does not overload the atmosphere since it emanates from the plants and is again absorbed by them for their growth (closed carbon balance). _x000D_ From a purely economic point of view, the use of transportable fuels for the production of electricity and heat with use of fuel cells is exceptionally advantageous in off-grid applications, such as islands and remote installations (e.g. telecommunication stations), in applications where the reliability and the stability of electric current are important, and in applications where the co-generated heat can be utilized (e.g. hotels, schools, hospitals). _x000D_ The production of hydrogen from gaseous fuels will be realized in a purposefully designed and manufactured fuel processor. The technology employed will be catalytic steam reforming along with appropriate steps to minimize the CO concentration in the reformate to levels acceptable for the operation of the fuel cell. The specific steps that will be followed for the manufacture of this unit are: _x000D_- Selection of the optimal catalysts for the various reactions that take place. Design of the appropriate reactors. Theoretical analysis of the thermal loads and lay down of mass and energy balances with use of various software packages _x000D_- Manufacture and testing of individual components (reactors and heat exchangers) in real life conditions. _x000D_- Manufacture and testing of clean-up equipment for the removal of polluting agents such as sulfur compounds, halogenated compounds, particles etc._x000D_- Detailed engineering of the processor _x000D_- Construction, start-up and monitoring of each component and of the overall operation of hydrogen production. _x000D_ The hydrogen from the reforming will feed a PEM fuel cell stack. The most popular PEM fuel cell technology is based on NAFION polymer proton conductor, sandwiched between two Gas Diffusion Electrodes, which are COly based on nanostructured Pt/C supported electrocatalysts. However, the high cost of Nafion and the constrains set because of their low operating temperature (CO poisoning, ineffective exploitation of heat produced) urge towards the design and development of materials (Polymer electrolytes and electrocatalysts) which will allow the operation of PEM fuel cells at temperatures ranging within 130-200°C. The newly developed polymers are expected to be used as alternatives to Nafion._x000D_The development of High Temperature polymer membranes will be followed by the construction of non leaching, high performance and durability MEAs (membrane electrode assemblies). What is required in this part, is the optimization of MEA’s construction conditions given that many and different parameters should be taken into consideration. Some of them are the following: membrane thickness, water uptake, pressure during the construction._x000D_High Temperature (HT) PEM fuel cell stacks are different from Low Temperature (LT) PEM stacks in design and materials used. LT flow fields are designed for efficient water droplet removal while HT flow fields don't need this feature, and therefor can have a much lower pressure drop, this resulting in lower parasitic losses and higher system efficiency. Bipolar plates for HT PEM stacks need high temperature resistance and corrosion resistance, requiring different plate material. Gasket materials typically used in LTPEM stacks do not survive HTPEM conditions.

Acronym HyRIS (Reference Number: 5094)
Duration 07/07/2010 - 31/12/2012
Project Topic The aim of the project is the design, development and manufacture of an energy production system, based on a High Temperature PEM fuel cell stack operating on hydrogen.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The CO result of the specific project was the production of an integrated fuel cell powered energy production system. This was comprised by a fuel processor and a fuel cell system. Suitable power electronics for management of the produced power were also assembled. ZBT's part was the development, construction and operation of the fuel cell stack module.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 3

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 HELBIO S.A. Hydrogen and Energy Production Systems Partner Greece
3 Advanced Energy Technologies Coordinator Greece
3 Zentrum für Brennstoffzellen Technik GmbH Partner Germany