Prototech AS

Bergen, Norway

Prototech AS

Bergen, Norway
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Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: COMPET-07-2014 | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2015

The TIME SCALE project will bring closed regenerative life support system (CRLSS) to the next level by further development of the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS). The EMCS has been successfully operated on the International Space Station (ISS) for 7 years with rotors allowing scientific research under Moon and Mars gravity exposures in addition to microgravity conditions. The EMCS modular design provides the possibility to replace the individual subsystems including the entire rotor system. The TIME SCALE project main objective is to develop an EMCS Advanced Life Support System Breadboard (EMCS ALSS BB) and demonstrate the operational capability for the ISS. The EMCS rotor baseplate will provide generic interfaces to several compartments of a CRLSS such as higher plants (crops), algae bioreactors and mouse. Scientific knowledge on whole higher plant (crop) physiology and fundamental processes under Moon and Mars gravity conditions are essential to ensure a safe and reliable food supply in future space exploration and integration of higher plants into a CRLSS. As part of the project an EMCS crop cultivation system will be developed and tested. The closed water and nutrient management research and development will include solution for challenges such as lack of thermal convection and the need of optimised technology (e.g. ion specific sensors) to monitor nutrients available for plants. Remote sensing diagnosis of plant health will be implemented using sensors and imaging techniques and Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS). Knowledge and technology on nutrient and water recycling and early warning for crop suboptimal growth conditions has significant terrestrial relevance for greenhouse systems. The TIME SCALE project bring together Universities and SMEs with the state of the art knowledge and experience needed to develop the EMCS ALSS BB for ISS and has the capacity to utilise the gained knowledge and concepts for terrestrial application.

Razbani O.,University of Stavanger | Waernhus I.,Prototech AS | Assadi M.,University of Stavanger
Applied Energy | Year: 2013

Temperature distribution over a Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) surface is a crucial parameter for design of a SOFC stack. The selection of both materials and the operating point of a stack is heavily affected by temperature gradient. Temperature distribution can also be used for control and monitoring purposes. An experimental set-up consisting of a cross flow type stack of six cells was built to measure the temperature distribution in different current densities and in two oven temperatures. Five thermocouples were inserted inside the middle cell to measure temperatures in four corners and in the middle of the cell. Voltage was also measured for different cells using platinum wires. Low fuel utilization (meaning low current density) and high excess air caused maximum temperature at the fuel inlet-air outlet corner. Higher oven temperature caused more uniform temperature distribution, while increasing the current density resulted in higher temperature gradient over the cell surface. This paper provides measurement data and analysis of the results from the test runs. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: FCH2-RIA | Phase: FCH-02.1-2014 | Award Amount: 2.94M | Year: 2015

The high temperature Solid Oxide Electrolysis (SOEC) technology has a huge potential for future mass production of hydrogen and shows great dynamics to become commercially competitive against other electrolysis technologies (AEL, PEMEL), which are better established but more expensive and less efficient. On the downside, up to now SOECs are less mature and performance plus durability are currently the most important issues that need to be tackled, while the technological progress is still below the typically accepted standard requirements. Indicatively, the latest studies on State-of-the-Art (SoA) cells with Ni/YSZ and LSM as cathode and anode electrodes, respectively, show that the performance decreases about 2-5% after 1000h of operation for the H2O electrolysis reaction, whereas for the co-electrolysis process the situation is even worse and the technology level is much more behind the commercialization thresholds. In this respect, SElySOs is taking advantage of the opportunity for a 4-years duration project and focuses on understanding of the degradation and lifetime fundamentals on both of the SOEC electrodes, for minimization of their degradation and improvement of their performance and stability mainly under H2O electrolysis and in a certain extent under H2O/CO2 co-electrolysis conditions. Specifically, the main efforts will be addressed on the study of both water and O2 electrodes, where there will be investigation on: (i) Modified SoA Ni-based cermets, (ii) Alternative perovskite-type materials, (iii) Thorough investigation on the O2 electrode, where new more efficient O2 evolving electrodes are going to be examined and proposed. An additional strong point of the proposed project is the development of a theoretical model for description of the performance and degradation of the SOEC fuel electrode. Overall, SElySOs adopts a holistic approach for coping with SOECs degradation and performance, having a strong orientation on the market requirements.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP.2011.2.2-4 | Award Amount: 5.07M | Year: 2012

This project is primarily aimed at generating new fundamental knowledge and fostering new prospects and frontiers in the field of catalysis for the sustainable production of chemicals and commodities. Rethinking important metal-based catalytic processes in the light of new tailored metal-free catalytic architectures designed and fabricated starting from appropriate nanoscale building blocks, is the fundamental target of this research project. Major efforts have been made in the last decades aimed at addressing catalytic approaches, as much as possible, denoted by sustainable and environmentally friendly features. A large fraction of products made today are produced with traditional methods developed several decades ago. In order to keep the European process industry competitive worldwide, the development of technologically advanced processes represent a fundamental prerequisite. The FREECATS proposal deals with the development of new metal-free catalysts, either in the form of bulk nanomaterials or in hierarchically organized structures both capable to replace traditional noble metal-based catalysts in catalytic transformations of strategic importance. The new metal-free catalytic materials will be applied to specific processes traditionally carried out by means of precious metal-based materials. The application of the new materials will eliminate the use for platinum group metals and rare earth elements such as ceria used in fuel cell technology (automotive applications and others), production of light olefins, and in wastewater and water purification. Replacing platinum group metal alternatives in these three emerging technologies will lead to a significant reduction in demand of platinum group metals in Europe, at least mounting to the current automotive platinum group metal demand, estimated to be in the order of 50-100 tons per year.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-FCH | Phase: SP1-JTI-FCH.2012.3.1;SP1-JTI-FCH.2012.3.5 | Award Amount: 2.58M | Year: 2013

The activities of the DeMStack project will be on the stack optimization and construction based on the high temperature MEA technology of ADVENT S.A. and its long term stability testing in combination with a fuel processor. DeMStack aims to enhance the lifetime and reduce the cost of the overall HT PEMFC technology by integrating promising, already developed materials for electrodes and membranes in an existing stack design. By understanding the fundamentals of the failure mechanisms, we can improve components, and design and develop system approaches to mitigate the failures. The strategy aims at improvements based on degradation studies and materials development carried out in previous and ongoing projects (FCH JU DEMMEA 245156) so that they will lead to a reliable cost-effective product that fulfils all prerequisites for relevant field uses. These improvements cope with degradation issues related to catalyst utilization, reformate feed contaminants, uniform diffusivity and distribution of reacting gases in the catalytic layer, pinhole development due to local high current density spots, H3PO4 acid depletion and distribution within the MEA, startup-stop and thermal cycles. The ultimate aim of DeMStack is to deliver HT PEMFC components for operation temperatures at 180oC and up to 200oC. Mainly optimized long lasting polymer electrolytes, stable Pt based electrocatalysts with minimal Pt loads and effective architectures of flow fields on bipolar plates will be explored. DeMStack will design, manufacture and test under variable conditions a highly efficient, low-cost HT PEMFC 1 kW stack prototype constructed from the optimized components. A fuel processor will also be constructed, operating on natural gas or LPG, which will be combined and integrated with the fuel cell stack. The robustness of the stack, the simplicity of BoP, the operational stability and the user friendly operation of the integrated system into a commercially reliable product, will be demonstrated

Ho T.X.,University of Bergen | Kosinski P.,University of Bergen | Hoffmann A.C.,University of Bergen | Vik A.,Prototech AS
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy | Year: 2010

This paper presents an analysis of the effects of heat sources on performance of a planar anode-supported solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). Heat sources in SOFCs include ohmic heat losses, heat released by chemical and electrochemical processes and radiation. We take into account the first three types of heat source here while neglecting the last type as it is supposed to be negligibly small. The cell is working under conditions of direct internal reforming of methane and with co-flow configuration. The composite electrodes are discretized allowing the heat source associated with the electrochemical processes to be implemented in a layer of finite thickness. Two cases are investigated, one where the electrochemical heat source is implemented on the anode side (base case) and another where it is implemented on the cathode side. Results for temperature, current density and chemical species distribution of the base case are shown and discussed. Moreover, the effects of magnitude and location of the heat sources are discussed. The results show that including ohmic heating in the cell model does have a significant effect on the predicted cell performance. Comparisons between the two cases indicate that the location of the electrochemical heat source does not affect the cell performance. © 2010 Professor T. Nejat Veziroglu.

Ho T.X.,University of Bergen | Ho T.X.,Prototech AS | Kosinski P.,University of Bergen | Hoffmann A.C.,University of Bergen | Vik A.,Prototech AS
Journal of Power Sources | Year: 2010

A detailed numerical three-dimensional (3D) model for a planar solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is developed in this paper. The 3D model takes into account detailed processes including transport, chemical and electrochemical processes taking place in the cell. Moreover, effects of the composite electrodes are taken into account by considering an electrochemically active layer of finite thickness in each of the electrodes. The developed model is applied to a repeating unit of an anode-supported SOFC working under direct internal reforming conditions. Detailed results for chemical species, temperature, current density and electric potential distribution are presented and discussed. It was found that the temperature distribution across the cell is more uniform in the interconnects than in the inner part of the cell. However, only small differences in the electric potential between the electrode and the corresponding interconnect are found. The current density in the electrodes is found to be high near the electrolyte and low deep into the electrochemically active layer. The current density is also low under the ribs of the interconnects. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Waernhus I.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Waernhus I.,Prototech AS | Grande T.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Wiik K.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Topics in Catalysis | Year: 2011

The electronic charge carrier concentration in La1-xSrxFeO 3-δ was shown to depend on the partial pressure of O 2 (pO2). Chemical diffusion coefficient and surface exchange coefficient, kchem, were determined by conductivity relaxation in O2/N2 and CO/CO2 mixtures. kchem was proportional to pO2 1.06 in O2/N 2, while in CO/CO2 kchem was controlled by a reaction mechanism involving both CO and CO2. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Prototech As | Date: 2011-06-14

A power generation apparatus comprises a fuel cell and a reforming module, wherein the reforming module is adapted to reform hydrocarbon fuel into hydrogen and other components, and to separate the hydrogen from the other components. The apparatus is arranged so that the hydrogen is fed from the reforming module to the anode of the fuel cell. Carbon dioxide may be separated in the reforming module. Hydrogen may be recycled from the anode outflow back to the anode and/or tapped off. The apparatus may also contain a desorption module for releasing carbon dioxide. The absorption and release of carbon dioxide may be integrated and the carbon dioxide absorbent and/or desorbent may be recycled. Components of the apparatus may be thermally integrated. The apparatus may be used to generate electricity and produce hydrogen.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-FCH | Phase: SP1-JTI-FCH.2011.3.1;SP1-JTI-FCH.2011.3.4 | Award Amount: 3.42M | Year: 2012

The development of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) operating on hydrocarbon fuels (natural gas, biofuel,LPG) is the key to their short to medium term broad commercialization. The development of direct HC SOFCs still meets lot of challenges and problems arising from the fact that the anode materials operate under severe conditions leading to low activity towards reforming and oxidation reactions, fast deactivation due to carbon formation and instability due to the presence of sulphur compounds. Although research on these issues is intensive, no major technological breakthroughs have been so far with respect to robust operation, sufficient lifetime and competitive cost. T-CELL proposes a novel electrochemical approach aiming at tackling these problems by a comprehensive effort to define, explore, characterize, develop and realize a radically new triode approach to SOFC technology together with a novel, advanced architecture for cell and stack design. This advance will be accomplished by means of an integrated approach based both on materials development and on the deployment of an innovative cell design that permits the effective control of electrocatalytic activity under steam or dry reforming conditions. The novelty of the proposed work lies in the pioneering effort to apply Ni-modified materials electrodes of proven advanced tolerance, as anodic electrodes in SOFCs and in the exploitation of our novel triode SOFC concept which introduces a new controllable variable into fuel cell operation. In order to provide a proof of concept of the stackability of triode cells, a triode SOFC stack consisting of at least 4 repeating units will be developed and its performance will be evaluated under methane and steam co-feed, in presence of a small concentration of sulphur compound. Success of the overall ambitious objectives of the proposed project will result in major progress beyond the current state-of-the-art and will open entirely new perspectives in cell and stack designs.

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