Fuel cells with an operational life of 15,000 hours.

On 15 May 2009, scientists from the Jülich Research Center have expanded the scope of the very promising energy technology of fuel cells reaching an operational life of 15,000 hours.

Fuel cells with high temperature solid electrolyte (SOFCs) are excellent candidates for future implementation in buildings, power plants and vehicles. They convert chemical energy directly and efficiently into electrical energy - and thus save natural resources while avoiding emissions. Supported by project budgets of the European Union, the 3-generation batteries were built at Jülich Research Center . By plane technique, developed in Jülich, the single cells are stacked in piles, to a high voltage.

Scientists from the Institute of Energy Research (IEF) and the Central Technology (ZAT ) have now successfully run two batteries of this type for more than 15,000 hours. "They have produced an average power of 0.4 W/cm2, about double than what is currently observed in commercial systems," said Dr. Robert Steinberger-Wilckens, director of the "fuel cell" in Jülich Research Center . Of the lifetime of 10,000 hours, 5,000 hrs alone utilized to the establishment in vehicles, but for a stationary power supply, time of activity in excess of 40,000 hours are needed. "We continue to aim to achieve such operation time, and we just make a good step in this direction," said Dr. Steinberger-Wilckens.

"In addition, we used the long battery life at a temperature of only 700 ° C, as the cells age more slowly," said Steinberger. Aging or degradation of a fuel cell has an effect on progressive loss of performance - like batteries. Dramatically with the batteries in Jülich, the degradation of cells was only 10% after the maximum operating time reached previously on other fuel cells. Commonly, it decrees the end of life of a battery when the loss of performance reached 20%. Thus, the batteries continue to be used without alteration and theoretically they have a potential of 30,000 hours - a time of activity so far as inaccessible for such batteries. So they would qualify for about four years of uninterrupted activity. To discontinue use, such as heating buildings, the life span could reach 5 to 10 years.

The success of the Jülich is as follows: cells with high-performance thin-layer functional connections accurately allow a decrease in temperature. Moreover, the special cells-SOFC CroFer steel developed by the Jülich and steel ITM chosen as part of the European project Real-SOFC prevent the layers of protection corresponding release of corrosion products and lengthen the life span.

The Real-SOFC project was conducted with support from the EU between 2004 and 2008. 26 institutions participated in the success of the project,

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