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The fuel cell for home
Date:6/11/2014

re BMVI is promoting Callux. Currently, in the European demonstration project ene.field, about 150 further units are being installed in several European countries. In addition, Vaillant started the production of a small-scale series in early 2014. Parallel to the practical test, the two partners are already working on new models. Now, it's all about decreasing production costs and increasing the lifetime of the equipment," says Jahn.

The principle of the fuel cell has been known for over 175 years. So far, however, there has not been a market breakthrough. The main reason was the invention of the electric generator. It knocked the more complex fuel cell out of the running. Only in the 1960s was the technology put into practice by NASA in some Apollo moon missions. In the late 1990s, there were other projects in the automotive industry, which have so far not been able to prevail. The reasons are that the fuel cell is too complex, too expensive, and too unreliable. In our project with Vaillant, we have made great strides to bring the technology close to the market. Vaillant is already producing a small-scale series, which is sold in funded projects to customers," says Jahn. For the market breakthrough, the costs still have to be decreased significantly."

The miniature power station for home use is based on a solid fuel cell (SOFC). SOFCs operate at a much higher temperature in comparison to competing approaches, such as the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), which is used in cars, for example. While PEMFCs only reach 80 degrees, SOFCs can reach up to 850 degrees. This allows the SOFCs to be built much more simply and cheaply," says Jahn.

The electrolyte of an SOFC only transfers oxygen ions, not electrons. Otherwise, there would be a short circuit. Ceramic is particularly well suited as a material for the electrolyte. It has the desired conductivity and can also endure high temper
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Contact: Dr. Matthias Jahn
matthias.jahn@ikts.fraunhofer.de
49-351-255-37535
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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