This news release is available in German.
One always speaks of a fuel cell system," says Dr. Matthias Jahn from the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden. A single cell doesn't produce enough voltage to obtain a sufficient electrical power. In a fuel cell stack, several cells are connected one to the other. Each of them is about the size of a CD. We call the groups ,stacks'," says Jahn. Fuel cells convert natural gas directly into electrical energy. They are many times more efficient than are combustion engines, such as the car engine. These require an intermediate step. First, they convert chemical energy into thermal energy (heat) and mechanical energy (force). With this force, they drive a generator, which only then generates the electric power. In the process, a large portion of the originally available energy is lost.
Real-life test in private households
Together with the heater manufacturer Vaillant, the IKTS has developed a compact, safe and sturdy fuel cell system that generates electricity and heat in private households from natural gas. The researchers were particularly responsible for the construction of the prototype, the design of the overall system, the design of the ceramic components and the development of the reformer and the afterburner. The devices are currently being tested in private households in the Callux practice test.
They are as compact as classical gas heaters that only produce heat. Moreover, they can comfortably be mounted on the wall and easily be maintained. With an output of one kilowatt, they cover the average current consumption for a four-person household. The Federal Ministry of Transport and digital infrastructu
|Contact: Dr. Matthias Jahn|