high-temperature fuel cells and electrolysis, decentralized combined heat and power generation, auxiliary power units, degradation analysis, thermomechanical loading, system development and demonstration, CFD and FEM simulation
Its high operating temperatures make the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) suitable for applications in the area of decentralized energy supply as well as for combined heat and power in industrial processes. Another application that is being targeted is use as an auxiliary power unit (APU) in road vehicles, ships, and aircraft.
Work focuses on the electrochemical characterization of cells and stacks. This characterization involves performance evaluations and measurements of long-term stability under different test conditions. Important tasks include the analysis of degradation processes and the thermomechanical causes of performance losses and leaks.
Another research priority is system development. Here, the peripheral system components necessary for system operation are designed, constructed, and tested. This work will lead to the construction of demonstration systems of between 1 kW and 100 kW which also allow hydrogen to be used, e.g. to convert energy back into electricity. The knowledge gained operating these systems is decisive for optimizing system control and management. Process and systems analysis concentrates on developing and evaluating improved concepts for energy conversion with high-temperature fuel cells using different types of fuel.
Within the context of a renewable energy supply, the use of electrolyzers to produce hydrogen is a key component. Using SOFC developments as a basis, stacks and systems for high-temperature electrolysis (SOE) are also being developed and characterized, and their suitability for energy storage is being demonstrated.
Cell, stack and system developments are supported by simulations. The operating behavior of SOFCs and SOECs is analyzed on different levels using simulations based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and the finite element method (FEM). This provides new input and decisive impetus for further development.