Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Snezhinsk breakthrough

19.01.2004


The first Russian power system based on a solid-oxide fuel cell is tested in Snezhinsk. By importance, this event is comparable with the first automobile construction.



The first Russian power system based on a solid-oxide fuel cell had been tested in the All-Russia Research Institute of Technical Physics (Russian Federal Nuclear Center, Snezhinsk, Chelyabinsk oblast). In this system, hydrogen is obtained from natural gas, and oxygen - from the air. For the first time, such a system has been built up of units (air pump, reformer, and fuel cell) that all are made in Russia at factories of the Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom). Almost ten-year-long work of Minatom specialists on creating the solid-oxide fuel cell has been successful. The testing team has acknowledged an important financial support of the ISTC that helped to solve key technical problems.

Viktor Emel’yanov, co-coordinator of the ISTC fuel cell construction initiative, has reported the following. The scientists launched an experimental system, which was operated several days and then turned off. But the main goal was attained: it has been revealed, which units are to be modified and how. The resource of the energy system functioning has been estimated in pilot experiments with separate fuel cells at 50 thousands of hours. Though the coast hasn’t been evaluated yet, it is expected to be acceptable. This event is comparable by importance with the first automobile construction. The experimental system power is 1 kW. This makes us sure that building 2.5 kW system under the ISTC project can be successfully accomplished.


Fuel cells and power systems on their basis are the key elements of hydrogen energetic, which is a promising way to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and also to reduce or stop the air pollution by exhaust gases of vehicles and power industries. Hydrogen energetic in Russia is promoted by the alliance of Minaton, ISTC, and Gazprom under aforementioned project, plus the Norilsk Nickel Company and Russian Academy of Sciences under the complex program of research and experimental-construction works on hydrogen energetic and fuel cells signed in December of 2003.

A fuel cell creates electricity through an electrochemical process that combines hydrogen and oxygen. For this purpose, hydrogen atoms are driven to the hydrogen electrode, turned to ions, and transferred by an electrolyte to the oxygen electrode, where they join up with oxygen atoms to form water and leave the fuel cell. There are several kinds of electrolytes that determine the construction of a fuel cell and respective power system.

A solid-oxide fuel cell is a high-temperature fuel cell having an operating temperature of more than 800 degrees. At room temperature, this electrolyte does not conduct any ions. It is unsuitable for an automobile, but quite appropriate for generating electricity and heat for a severed cottage or supplementary equipment of transport means. The main advantage of this fuel cell is its adjustability to hydrocarbon fuels, primarily, natural gas. The decomposition of natural gas to hydrogen and carbon monoxide and dioxide results in the production of synthesis gas. Here carbon monoxide can serve as a fuel along with hydrogen due to the presence of oxygen anions in the electrolyte. But it would be a poison in alternative low-temperature fuel cells, where the electrolyte conducts hydrogen ions (protons). Solid-oxide fuel cells produce not only electricity, but also heat that can be used in heating of buildings as well as generating an additional power supply, e.g., with the use of gas or vapour turbine.

Solid-oxide electrolyte is usually made of zirconium oxide substances with the addition of alkaline-earth and rare-earth metals. There are two ways of obtaining electricity with the use of solid-oxide fuel cells, one of which is based on a tubular construction developed in Snezhinsk. That fuel cell consists of many modules. Each module is a tube about 1 cm in diameter and 25 cm long, consisting of the same material as the electrolyte, i.e., zirconium oxide, in which the electrodes are implanted: the hydrogen one is made up of nickel and zirconium oxide, and the oxygen one of lanthanum-strontium manganate. The tube is filled up with a porous insulator, in which a smaller metal tube is incorporated. By this tube synthesis gas is supplied to the fuel cell, and the electricity exits the fuel cell. A tube can be made also from the material of cathode. In this case, it is clad in electrolyte 20-30 cm thick, which is covered by the anode layer. Such a tube having the power density 550 mW/sq cm at the temperature of 950 degrees can produce the electric current of 0.55 V and 13 W. And these values do not change during 1.5 thousand hours of the operation test that has been conducted by the scientists.

An alternative idea is a planar fuel cell. In this case, the base is made of either a half-millimetre-thick plate of the same electrolyte carrying micron-deep layers of porous cathode and anode made of above-mentioned materials, or of a millimetre-thick anode plate with electrolyte and cathode layers. Such a plate up to 60 mm in diameter made of nickel/zirconium oxide with adjustable porosity and conductivity can be produced, for example, in the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering in Obninsk. That is commented by one of the members of the research team, N.I. Khramushin, as follows. The planar construction is more efficient and compact than the tubular one. Its use allows for obtaining a higher electric power density and decreasing power and heat losses. We have managed to obtain a maximal power density of 700 mW/sq cm at 950 degrees. Therefore, power systems based on such fuel cells will cost lower than tubular ones - the price for one kilowatt of power may drop to 400 dollars in case of a massive production.

Sergey Komarov | alfa
Further information:
http://www.informnauka.ru

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Did you know that the wrapping of Easter eggs benefits from specialty light sources?
13.04.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

nachricht To e-, or not to e-, the question for the exotic 'Si-III' phase of silicon
05.04.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>