Navigation Links
A 'turbo' for solid oxide fuel cells
Date:12/13/2012

This press release is available in German.

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) directly convert chemical energy into electrical energy. Although an overall efficiency above 95 per cent can be achieved at an operating temperature of nearly 900 degrees Celsius, a certain amount thereof is waste heat and can currently only be used for domestic hot water supply or heating purposes. Andre Heel, chemical engineer and research coordinator of the strategic partnership between Empa and Hexis AG, has something else in mind. He wants to "upgrade" it into electricity using thermoelectric converters (TECs). "This will not only increase the efficiency of the fuel cell system", says Heel. "Highly efficient energy conversion technologies are also the most effective way to conserve valuable resources."

Like adhesive plasters, TECs which are already commercially available are stuck to the walls of motors, industrial ovens and other heat sources. They consist of two different types of semiconducting materials on either side. If there is a temperature gradient between the two sides, electrons are transferred from one side to the other, i.e. an electric current is induced, which can be "harvested".

Under Heel's leadership, Empa kicked-off the four-year "HITTEC" project this summer (HIgh Temperature ThermoElectric Converters). Its aim is to develop and optimize materials for TECs that can withstand elevated temperatures. Not a small feat, given that current TECs can only be operated at temperatures below 300 degrees. What's more, HITTEC materials also have to combine seemingly contradicting properties. They should, for instance, be both highly electrically conductive and at the same have a poor thermal conductivity.

A team led by Anke Weidenkaff, head of Empa's Laboratory for Solid State Chemistry and Catalysis and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Berne, has set its sights on perovskite-type oxides. These compounds exhibit interesting properties: they are chemically and thermally stable, non-toxic, and can be produced at low cost in large volumes. A particularly promising candidate, it turned out, is tungsten-substituted calcium manganate.

In order to properly evaluate the power output of their novel high-temperature thermoelectric converters at high temperatures, Weidenkaff's team has developed unique equipment capable of faithfully replicating the extreme operating conditions experienced by HITTEC modules. But the researchers are also developing new concepts to overcome challenges in the design of the HITTEC modules. "We are not simply going to stick our converter onto an SOFC", says Weidenkaff. Instead, her team wants to integrate fuel cell and thermoelectric converters in an entirely new way, by directly using thermoelectric converters as fuel cell electrodes, that is, the site of the chemical reaction. "An ambitious idea", admits Weidenkaff. But one with a huge potential because the high-temperature ceramic materials of the SOFC conductor system are not unlike perovskite-type oxides used for HITTECs.

The project relies on a highly multidisciplinary team; Heel and Weidenkaff are cooperating with colleagues from ETH Zurich, EPF Lausanne and the Zurich University of Applied Science (ZHAW). The team's combined efforts will lead to prototypes constructed together with Hexis. Heel estimates that SOFC systems could generate up to 10 per cent extra electric power by using thermoelectric converters thus conserving a significant amount of valuable energy resources.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andr Heel
andre.heel@empa.ch
41-587-654-199
Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Aqueous iron interacts as strong as solid iron
2. Fertilizer use responsible for increase in nitrous oxide in atmosphere
3. Growing nitrous oxide levels explained
4. Light-induced delivery of nitric oxide eradicates drug-resistant bacteria
5. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in Arctic coastal seas
6. UC Berkeley chemists installing first carbon dioxide sensor network in Oakland
7. Geologists testing aquifer rocks as containers to permanently trap carbon dioxide
8. Rising carbon dioxide in atmosphere also speeds carbon loss from forest soils, IU-led research finds
9. Study shows economic feasibility for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air
10. Controlling gene expression with hydrogen peroxide switches
11. Anti-angina drug shows protective effects from carbon monoxide
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
A 'turbo' for solid oxide fuel cells
(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Vehicle Anti-Theft System Market ... the next decade to reach approximately $14.21 billion by 2025. ... for all the given segments on global as well as regional ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017 Optimove , provider of ... such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today announced two ... Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, these features ... replenishment recommendations to their customers based not just ... customer intent drawn from a complex web of ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... -- At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel ... Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster ... country. At the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could ... recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u is proud to announce it has ... has hosted corporate cooking challenges for companies around the world, such as Illumina, HP and ... of the reason for its increasing popularity is due to its new team building format, ...
(Date:3/23/2017)...  Northwest Biotherapeutics (OTCQB: NWBO) (NW Bio), a ... solid tumor cancers, today announced that yesterday it ... last Friday, March 17, 2017. ... totaling 28,843,692 shares, comprised of 18,843,692 common shares ... Class C Warrants pre-funded at the closing at ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... LOUISVILLE, Colo. , March 23, 2017  GlobeImmune, ... purchase agreement for the sale of 12,835,490 shares of ... the  NantWorks  ecosystem of companies. In connection with the sale ... GlobeImmune $100,000 in cash and issue to GlobeImmune 200,000 ... common stock. "We are pleased to ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... selected by the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) as a 2017 Women of Innovation® ... annual Women of Innovation Awards Dinner. , The dinner recognizes women accomplished in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: