Fuel cells convert the chemical energy stored in a fuel like hydrogen into electricity. They are one of the most effective technologies for energy conversion known so far and have the potential to significantly contribute to future decentralised electric power grids with a variety of technical advantages. In particular, stationary fuel cells will be able to reduce CO2 emissions as well as dependencies on fossil fuels.
Fuel cells also can be used in mobile applications like cars that run of clean burning hydrogen. A new project aims at reducing manufacturing costs for fuel cell stacks while at the same time making production more resource efficient and realising environmental benefits. Specifically, the project will develop new and optimised processes for the production of the fuel cell cassettes by lean manufacturing processes, improved sealing adhesion on cassettes, using anode contact layer laser welding and automation of the welding process.
Called the SOSLeM project, work started in April 2016 and its impacts will positively improve production lines, production costs, and eventually lead to lower cost solid fuel cells that can reduce carbon emissions by replacing fossil based fuels with hydrogen fuel. The new work is based on advanced materials like ceramic and glass.
The lifetime of the ceramic and glass-based SOFC stacks depends heavily on the structural integrity of the brittle material in use.