The European SOFC & SOE Forum is a high-level international fuel cell & electrolyser event that every year offers a presentation of the state-of-the-art technology.
In 2022, Switzerland hosted the 15th edition of EFCF and focused on “science, engineering, materials, systems, applications and markets for all types of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC), Solid Oxide Electrolysers (SOE) and Solid Oxide Electrochemical Reactors” also addressing the established issue of CO2 emission reduction and reuse.
Solydera focused on the large stack module and system development for SOFC, SOE and reversible operation in industrial processes.
DLR presented the transient simulation and experimental validation of a solid oxide cell module in electrolysis and polygeneration mode.
EPFL reported the results of local investigation of a segmented reversible-SOC.
Furthermore, SWITCH participated with a workshop in the final event of CH2P project, as already written in a this news.
2022 was not the first year that saw the participation of SWITCH project in EFCF. Represented by SolidPower, the project took part also in the virtual event European Fuel Cell Forum 2020, where the development and testing of a 25 kWe Large Stack Module for SOFC and SOE applications was presented.
The researcher Michele Bolognese, from Fondazione Bruno Kessler – FBK, participated in the Conference Modelon Innovate 2022 in Stockholm, last 19th of October.
With the presentation “rSOC System: Modeling and Control Development With Modelica-Based Language“, the researcher wished to present the model developed for the H2020 Projects PROMETEO and SWITCH.
The model enables the evaluation of a detailed system analysis and operation, which can also be used as a design tool for the upscale of the rSOCs technology in different scenarios and applications, and to test and optimize the control strategy.
Modelon Innovate 2022 is a global event focused on system simulation for innovation and product design within commercial industries.
If you are interested in the presentation, you can find it in the publications section!
The CH2P project designed, constructed and tested a novel 20 kg/day SOFC prototype for flexible and multimodal co-generation of hydrogen, heat and power using bio-methane.
The SWITCH project exploits and upscales the CH2P prototype by adding SOE operations for green hydrogen production. The SWITCH prototype will operate in five SOE/SOFC modes and it will produce 100 kg/day in SOE mode.
The workshop ended with a debate on the lesson learned from the two projects and the next steps for technology upscaling and application at Hydrogen Refueling Stations.
The event was hosted by the 15th European SOFC and SOE Forum (EFCF 2022), with the possibility to join both on-site and remote. The event was attended by 54 participants: 38 people connected from remote and 16 attended in presence at KKL in Lucerne.
Xinyi Wei, researcher at the EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), partner of the SWITCH project, gave the presentation entitled “Life cycle Assessment of different hydrogen production routes” at ECOS 2022, the 35th International Conference on Efficiency, Cost, Optimization, Simulation and Environmental Impact of Energy Systems.
The presentation aimed to give an overview of the LCA made and results achieved on different hydrogen production routes, and one of them has been assessed within the SWITCH project.
ECOS is the name of a series of international conferences that focus on modern aspects of Thermal Sciences with particular emphasis on Thermodynamics and its applications in energy conversion systems and processes. ECOS22 has been held in Copenhagen, Denmark from 3 to 7 July 2022.
The aim of the conference is to study the phenomena / mechanisms of degradation of fuel cells and electrolysis both at the level of unit cells and in the array. The topics of the conference cover the widest range of study, ranging from fundamental research issues to the operation of commercial units in power generation / conversion applications.
Our researcher Michele Bolognese presented today at European Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Conference (EFC21) the results of the experimental validation of the SWITCH Large Stack Module. The results of the dynamic modelling of the Reversible Stack Module and of the External Reformer were validated by the experimental activities performed in Fondazione Bruno Kessler – FBK with 3% of discrepancy. The results confirm the robustness of the model, that can be used for future modelling of hydrogen stationary applications
More details will be shared in the conference proceedings.
The event, sponsored by the High-temperature Energy, Materials and processes division of the Electrochemical Society, Inc. and the SOFC Society of Japan, saw the participation of the SOC community from academia and industry. ECS has indeed a large network of over 8,000 scientists and engineers.
The two presentations given by EPFL, within the scope of the SWITCH project, were
1-Local Characterization of a Solid Oxide Cell Operated in Fuel Cell and Electrolysis Mode Using Lock-in Thermograph
Operando characterization of SOCs generally relies on current–voltage measurements that provide the spatially averaged electrochemical response of the SOC. However, these methods do not fully capture the spatial distribution of the operating conditions (e.g., gas composition, current density). Local information on the operating conditions can be gained by using operando optical characterization methods. In this work, the spatial distribution of the electro-thermal response of an SOC with a 15 cm2 active area operated in fuel cell and electrolysis mode was investigated using lock-in thermography. Lock-in thermography consists of stimulating the solid oxide cell with a sinusoidal current perturbation and analyzing the local thermal response using Fourier transforms. A camera with a silicon-based sensor was used to record the transient temperature field on the oxygen electrode (i.e., the cathode in fuel cell operation) via a specifically designed optical access. The field of view of each pixel was approximately 0.03 mm x 0.03 mm. The Fourier transform generates a compact data set that can be conveniently represented by a phase and amplitude or a real and imaginary image. Using a real–imaginary representation provided a better thermal response contrast than an amplitude–phase representation. The local thermal response was found to be dependent on the direct current bias and the frequency of the current perturbation. The thermal response of the SOC was laterally and longitudinally inhomogeneous, thereby demonstrating the capability of active thermography to characterize the local behavior of an SOC in operando. Lock-in thermography is thus a promising method for defining regions of interest for post-mortem analysis using electron microscopy and helping to link highly localized post-test analysis with spatially averaged operando characterization methods.
2 – Modeling Nickel Microstructural Evolution in Ni-YSZ Electrodes Using a Mathematical Morphology Approach
Microstructural evolution of Nickel in Ni-YSZ fuel electrodes is one of the main limiting degradation mechanisms in solid oxide cells . The redistribution of Nickel is ascribed to its high mobility and low wettability with YSZ, related to interfacial surface tensions. Practically, the degradation manifests as the agglomeration of Ni, potentially accompanied by its migration, mainly reported in electrolysis mode.
Extensive efforts have been made to understand Ni agglomeration and relocation. In this frame, advanced imaging techniques have been employed to characterize the microstructure of electrodes after aging in a wide range of conditions. In order to support these observations and gain fundamental insights, a number of computer simulations methods such as: multistate kinetic Potts-Monte Carlo models, cellular automata, phase field, and topological boundary dynamics have been successfully employed in modelling grain growth and recrystallization phenomena. Nevertheless, questions still remain on the exact underlying mechanisms of Ni migration.
In the shadow of this lack of clear understanding, a morphological modelling approach aiming at mimicking Ni depletion based on the most fundamental definition of chemical potential and surface curvature minimization would be very helpful to guide researchers into gaining clearer insights of this phenomenon. Moreover, the morphological simulations are very fast compared to the physically based models. Therefore, they can offer the possibility to emulate large database of numerical microstructures in order to study the impact of Ni evolution on the microstructural properties .
The current work falls within this framework and aims at modelling the two main Ni degradation phenomena, namely coarsening and migration. For this purpose, a novel model based on morphological operations from mathematical morphology  has been developed and adapted to the Ni-YSZ specificities. The considered driving force for Ni evolution is the minimization of its surface curvature, and implicitly its chemical potential, which strongly depends on the local operating conditions. After calibration, the model showed a capability to predict, starting from an initial 3-D microstructure as input data, Ni relocation that was in agreement with that observed in a large dataset of 3-D reconstructions from pristine and aged cells. This helps understanding the associated microstructural evolutions which are linked to the cell Area Specific Resistance (ASR) through an adapted in-house model. This coupling of microstructural and electrochemical models allows giving clearer insights and practical recommendations for the design of fuel electrodes with improved stability and electro-catalytic activity.
The SWITCH project has been presented in the online workshop “Hydrogen in power combined heat and power energy -intensive industry and agriculture”. The workshop has been organised by the PIME Knowledge Academy , which is promoting knowledge exchange to develop a hydrogen economy in energy and transport in Poland.
During the workshop, Matteo Testi (FBK) presented the talk “Reversible Solid Oxide Cells at support of flexible production of hydrogen, power and heat”, focusing on the R&D activities performed on the SWITCH Large Stack Module. The new LSM will significantly enhance the efficiency of green hydrogen production while securing production independently from renewable energy.
The focus of the 17th edition is to present advances in modelling and in experimental work for model validation, for fuel cells, batteries and electrolysers. Attendance is ~120, from academia and industry, from Europe and overseas. The symposium provides good opportunity to create new proximity R&D collaborations.
The event was organised by the Engineers Association of Bergamo and had the purpose to give to the professionals an overview on hydrogen technologies, as this energy carrier is becoming a key element of the energy transition and political agendas.
Matteo Testi, researcher and supervisor of the hydrogen activities at the Centre, focused his presentation on the high temperature fuel cells, in reversible mode, for flexible power supply of multifuel stations and heavy industry. Furthermore, the expert introduced the technologies developed in the H2020 projects CH2P and SWITCH.
You can find more information about the webinar at this link.
This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (now Clean Hydrogen Partnership) under Grant Agreement No 875148. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research