Hexis AG

Winterthur, Switzerland
Winterthur, Switzerland
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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-FCH | Phase: SP1-JTI-FCH.2011.3.7 | Award Amount: 52.35M | Year: 2012

ene.field will deploy up to 1,000 residential fuel cell Combined Heat and Power (micro-CHP) installations, across 11 key Member States. It represents a step change in the volume of fuel cell micro-CHP (micro FC-CHP) deployment in Europe and a meaningful step towards commercialisation of the technology. The programme brings together 9 mature European micro FC-CHP manufacturers into a common analysis framework to deliver trials across all of the available fuel cell CHP technologies. Fuel cell micro-CHP trials will be installed and actively monitored in dwellings across the range of European domestic heating markets, dwelling types and climatic zones, which will lead to an invaluable dataset on domestic energy consumption and micro-CHP applicability across Europe. By learning the practicalities of installing and supporting a fleet of fuel cells with real customers, ene.field partners will take the final step before they can begin commercial roll-out. An increase in volume deployment for the manufacturers involved will stimulate cost reduction of the technology by enabling a move from hand-built products towards serial production and tooling. The ene.field project also brings together over 30 utilities, housing providers and municipalities to bring the products to market and explore different business models for micro-CHP deployment. The data produced by ene.field will be used to provide a fact base for micro FC-CHP, including a definitive environmental lifecycle assessment and cost assessment on a total cost of ownership basis. To inform clear national strategies on micro-CHP within Member States, ene.field will establish the macro-economics and CO2 savings of the technologies in their target markets and make recommendations on the most appropriate policy mechanisms to support the commercialisation of domestic micro-CHP across Europe. Finally ene.field will assess the socio-economic barriers to widespread deployment of micro-CHP and disseminate clear position papers and advice for policy makers to encourage further roll out.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-FCH | Phase: SP1-JTI-FCH.2009.3.3 | Award Amount: 5.65M | Year: 2011

Long-term stable operation of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) is a basic requirement for introducing this technology to the stationary power market. Degradation phenomena limiting the lifetime can be divided into continuous (baseline) and incidental (transient) effects. This project is concerned with understanding the details of the major SOFC continuous degradation effects and developing models that will predict single degradation phenomena and their combined effect on SOFC cells and single repeating units. The outcome of the project will be an in-depth understanding of the degradation phenomena as a function of the basic physico-chemical processes involved, including their dependency on operational parameters. Up to now research has rarely succeeded in linking the basic changes in materials properties to the decrease in electro-chemical performance at the level of multi-layer systems and SOFC cells, and even up to single repeating units.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-FCH | Phase: SP1-JTI-FCH.2009.3.2 | Award Amount: 4.34M | Year: 2010

The project will demonstrate a new full ceramic SOFC cell with superior robustness as regards to sulphur tolerance, carbon deposition (coking) and re-oxidation (redox resistance). Such a cell mitigates three major failure mechanisms which today have to be addressed at the system level. Having a more robust cell will thus enable the system to be simplified, something of particular importance for small systems, e.g. for combined heat and power (CHP). The new ceramic based cell will be produced by integrating a new, very promising class of materials, strontium titanates, into existing, proven SOFC cell designs. Cost effective and up-scalable processes will be developed for the fabrication of supports and cells. In an iterative process the cell performance at defined tolerance levels will subsequently be improved by adjustments of the fabrication on full cell level according to identified failure mechanisms. Cells with matching performance but improved sulphur, coling and re-oxidation tolerance compared to state-of-the-art Ni-cermet materials will finally be demonstrated in a real system environment.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-FCH | Phase: SP1-JTI-FCH-3.2 | Award Amount: 4.65M | Year: 2010

The high temperature fuel cell technologies have potential for high electrical efficiency, 45-60%, and total efficiency up to 95%. SOFC has the added benefit of offering commercial applications from 1 kW residential to several MW stationary units with high fuel flexibility. Whilst much effort is devoted to cell and stack issues, less attention has been paid to the components and sub-systems required for an operational system. Components and sub-systems such as fuel processing, heat and thermal management, humidification, fluid supply and management and power electronics are as crucial to the successful commercialisation of fuel cell systems as the cell and stack. This project is focused on the development of fuel and water management for SOFC systems. The fuel management, and especially recirculation, is a key question in achieving high electric efficiency and rejecting external water supply. The recirculation increases the fuel utilization rate and can provide the water needed in the reforming of fuels. However, with current SOFC systems the anode circulation has been problematic from controllability and reliability points of view, and hence there is a need to develop the overall solution of the anode subsystem. This project will evaluate different process approaches for fuel and water management, e.g. blower-based approach, ejector-based approach, and water circulation by condensing from the anode off-gas/exhaust gas and evaporating back to the fuel loop. The aspects taken into account in the conceptual analysis are effects on electric efficiency and process simplicity implying easiness of controllability, and requirements on diagnostics accuracy to provide insights into failure mode prevention. In the detailed evaluation, the suitable approaches are analysed more thoroughly in terms of component availability and reliability, achievable diagnostics accuracy, controllability, effects on reformer, mechanical integration feasibility to whole system, cost effects etc.


A method for the combined controlled regulation of fuel gas-oxygen carriers of a gas operated energy converter plant (15), in particular of a fuel cell plant, is provided in which the mass or volume through flow of the fuel gas (1) and/or of the oxygen carrier (2) is detected in order to regulate the mixing ratio (r) of fuel gas to oxygen carrier. In the method at least two physical parameters of the fuel gas are additionally determined using a micro thermal sensor (3.1, 3.2), for example, the mass flow and/or volume through flow of the fuel gas and the thermal conductivity or thermal capacity of the fuel gas are determined and a desired value for the mixing ratio is determined from the physical parameters which depends on the fuel gas or on the composition of the fuel gas, and which desired value is used for the regulation of the mixing ratio.


A fuel cell module includes fuel cells and an air supply system. The fuel cells are arranged in a cell stack. The air supply system is configured to supply air into an air distribution space for operating or cooling the fuel cells. The fuel cells are stacked in an axial direction. The air supply system is configured such that cooling results due to the air supplied to the fuel cells not being of uniform strength in the axial direction. The air supply system is arranged completely radially outside the cell stack.


Patent
Hexis AG | Date: 2015-12-04

A fuel cell module includes fuel cells, a gas supply system, a first accumulator, a second accumulator, and power connection. The fuel cells are arranged in a cell stack having a first axial end and a second axial end. The gas supply system is configured to supply gas for the operation of the fuel cells, the fuel cells being stacked in an axial direction. The first accumulator is arranged at the first axial end of the cell stack. The second accumulator is arranged at the second axial end of the cell stack. The power connection is electrically conductively connected to the second accumulator, and is arranged at the gas supply system. The cell stack is arranged within an insulation sheath and the gas supply system is arranged partly outside the insulation sheath and the power connection is arranged outside the insulation sheath.


In a method for regulating a fuel cell stack (1), a current-voltage characteristic of the fuel cell stack is detected and evaluated to determine an operating point of the fuel cell stack, wherein a current-voltage characteristic of the fuel cell stack (1) is detected at time intervals in operation whose gradient has a minimum, a characteristic value (R_(min)) for the minimum of the gradient is respectively determined from the detected current-voltage characteristic and a desired value for the operating point is determined by addition of a predefined offset value (R_(offset)) to the characteristic value, and wherein the fuel cell stack (1) is regulated by the desired value determined in this manner.


Disclosed is method of operating a fuel cell which can output an electrical maximum power dependent on the operating temperature for a given fuel gas flow, and which exhibits aging in dependence on the operating duration which brings about an increase of the electrical internal resistance with progressive operating duration. In the disclosed method, the starting value (T_(0)) of the operating temperature for a new fuel cell or for a new fuel cell stack is typically smaller than or equal to the operating temperature, at which the electrical maximum power is achieved and the fuel cell or the fuel cell stack is regulated such that the decrease of the output electrical power as a consequence of aging is partly or completely compensated in that the operating temperature (T) of the fuel cell or of the fuel cell stack is increased with progressive aging.


Patent
Hexis AG | Date: 2015-11-04

A device in which an environmental air flow is monitored by a monitoring element and in which a natural gas flow is interrupted by a shut-off element on recognition of an insufficient environmental air flow. To allow a continuous operation of the fuel cell battery the monitoring element is short-circuited by a bridging device and that its operability can thus be checked without the environmental air flow having to be interrupted. This allows a permanent operation of the fuel cell battery.

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