On the left the logo of the Future Cluster Hydrogen and on the right the pictogram of a power-heat coupling by means of SOFC. Copyright: © RWTH Aachen | CMP

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) are an interesting application for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) production due to their high efficiencies but are typically fueled by natural gas. Due to the increasing availability of green hydrogen, the question arises to what extent the SOFC can be operated flexibly with different fuels. Together with the EON Energy research center of RWTH Aachen University, IEK-14 from Forschungszentrum Jülich and our industry partner Sunfire Fuel Cell GmbH, the consortium aims at developing a µ-CHP SOFC system capable of operating with a flexible hydrogen quantity in the fuel gas.

The baseline of the HyInnoSOFC project is a natural gas SOFC system available on the market. Within five work packages, the system will be adapted to an increased hydrogen mass content in the fuel gas. For this purpose, the consortium will investigate load profiles and ideal gas compositions to ensure an ecological and economical operation of the system. Subsequently, intake components such as the catalytic partial oxidation reformer (CPOX) and the desulfurization granulates will be adapted to an enriched hydrogen environment. With the load profiles defined and the intake components adapted an adaptive control strategy including the required sensors will be developed. Finally, the µ-CHP SOFC system will be subjected to exhaustive tests at TME to gain experimental insights and data into the adaptations and control strategy that was implemented. To this end, key performance parameters, such as the polarization curve, operating temperatures and degradation, as well as exhaust-gas composition are determined and evaluated. Based on the results of the exhaust-gas composition exhaust-gas-aftertreatment concepts will be developed and implemented by exploiting synergies with the in-house combustion engine research.

In parallel to the investigations on an existing SOFC a market research to determine suitable µ-CHP SOFC applications within the maritime sector and other heavy-duty applications, ensuring a holistic research approach will be conducted at TME.


High-temperature fuel cells with flexible fuel utilization for self-sufficient energy supply

Acronym HyInnoSOFC

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Term 10/2021 – 10/2024