In the “HIS” research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), we and our project partners are cooperating on the development of a highly integrated stack module for high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs).
SOFC fuel cells are highly efficient electrochemical energy converters that can generate electricity directly from natural gas or propane with low noise and comparatively low pollutant emissions.
The aim is to develop a highly integrated SOFC stack module that generates about one kilowatt of electrical power, is highly compact and can be produced at low cost. In addition to the SOFC stack, the module is intended to contain the entire hot section, which serves for media supply and exhaust gas treatment and consists, for example, of an ignition boiler, a residual gas burner, a heat exchanger and a reformer.
These components all belong to the so-called “hot BOP” (balance of plant). Heat is an essential factor in the efficiency of fuel cell operation. To achieve the highest possible efficiency, combining the hot BOP as compactly as possible to avoid heat loss suggests itself.
In the project group, ISATEC is in charge of flow and thermal design, thus expanding our simulation expertise to include flow simulation in addition to thermal and structural calculations.