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A significant success for FORTH: Four RTD proposals in the field of fuel cells and hydrogen production have recently been selected for funding by the European Commission

Feb 10, 2010

The Institute of Chemical Engineering and High Temperature Chemical Processes of the Foundation of Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH/ICE-HT) has recently received a new distinction at European level, as the European Committee selected for funding four (4) proposals in the field of fuel cells and hydrogen production. This is a field in which a large group of FORTH/ICE-HT researchers focuses its efforts.

These RTD projects, which have a total EC contribution of 6.368.606 Euro and started in January 2010, are:

  • "Understanding and minimizing anode degradation in hydrogen and natural gas fuelled SOFCs (ROBANODE)" (Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Symeon Bebelis)
  • "Understanding the Degradation Mechanisms of Membrane-Electrode-Assembly for High Temperature PEMFCs and Optimization of the Individual Components (DEMMEA)" (Coordination: ADVENT Technologies SA, P.I. (FORTH): Prof. Joannis Kallitsis)
  • "Development of an Internal Reforming Alcohol High Temperature PEM Fuel Cell Stack (IRAFC)" (Coordination: ADVENT Technologies SA, P.I. (FORTH): Dr. Theophilos Ioannides)
  • "Sustainable Hydrogen Generation (SUSHGEN)" (PI: Dr. Stelios Neophytides)

The participating partners of above programmes come from Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Norway, and Bulgaria.

Fuel Cells are power generators capable to convert chemical energy into electrical energy and a high temperature thermal by-product. Fuel cells can be classified into several technologies depending on the materials used as electrolytes. Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) and Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC) are considered as highly potential for market penetration.

High Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells (HTPEMFC)

One of the most significant contribution of FORTH/ICE-HT in the technology of PEMFC is the development of a novel polymer electrolyte, which can operate at temperatures as high as 200oC and under high carbon monoxide content (even up to 2%) feeds of reformate gas and it has a very stable chemical structure under harsh oxidative conditions. This material was built in a Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) and at present is one of the two state of the art MEAs operating at high temperature worldwide. Based on the aforementioned technology, a spin-off company, ADVENT Technologies SA, has been established since 2005 by the participation of ICE-HT, which has successfully optimized the MEA into a commercially available product. The main objective of the RTD projects is the improvement of the properties of high temperature MEAs, so that it has appropriate mechanical properties, chemical, thermal and oxidative stability, high ionic conductivity, electronic insulation and low cost. The interdisciplinary collaboration aims to the electrochemical study of high temperature MEAs for manufacturing both unit fuel cells and fuel cell stacks and the study of the behavior and the efficiency of unit cells / stacks.

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC)

FORTH/ICE-HT is very active in the research and development of SOFCs since its establishment in 1984. One of the most significant contributions of the research group is the development of nickel based carbon tolerant anodes, so that the internal steam reforming methane and natural gas can be directly processed on the anode of a SOFC. The main objective of the RTD projects is the development of new electrolytes and catalysts / electrodes for SOFCs, which can operate at temperatures of 600 - 850°C and are durable in the deposition of graphitic carbon (soot) and in the presence of hydrogen sulphide.

For more information please contact:
Dr. Stelios Neophytides, Research Director of FORTH/ICE-HT
Tel.: +30 2610 965 265, Fax: +30 2610 965 223