German Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Completes 40,000 Hours Endurance Test, Exceeds Expectations

“Time will tell,” they say. Well, time has told good things about a planar solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) used in industrial purposes, which has recently completed and even exceeded 40,000 hours of continuous operation.

The fuel cell, originally designed and built at the Jülich Institute of Energy and Climate Research in Germany, is operating with a conversion efficiency of 64 percent and works with pure hydrogen. Other gases such as methane could render an even higher efficiency.

“The test has pleasantly surprised us. Although the industrial implementation would optimally be 60,000 to 80,000 hours, the level we have achieved shows that the long-term stability of the fuel cell is proved in principle,” says Prof. Detlef Stolten, spokesman of the Jülich Research Center fuel cell.

It’s also important to mention that the SOFC built at Jülich hasn’t been made to work that much from the beginning. However, the scientists “blame” the success on the fact that the cell worked at a “mild” temperature of only 700 degrees Celsius, unlike other fuel cells that operate between 800 and 1,000 degrees Celsius. This also leads to using cheaper materials to build it.

The results of this test are also important for the car industry. Although this specific fuel cell hadn’t been made to work in cars, the operation principle is basically the same. Moreover, cars only need like 5,000 to 10,000 hours of operation, so implementing such a fuel cell would guarantee great performance and good price from the start.

[via rd]

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