Miniaturized Fuel Cell Solution
The INERGIO fuel cells are based on Solid Oxide fuel Cells (SOFCs). A fuel flexible fuel cell technology that generates electricity from the fuel stored in the tanks and the oxygen from the air.
Unlike most popular fuel cell technologies, Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) is not limited only to hydrogen as the fuel and consequently to the lack of hydrogen infrastructure. SOFCs operate based on wide range of fuels such as commercial liquid butane, natural gas, methane, and of course hydrogen. SOFCs directly convert the fuels into electricity at high efficiency with typical efficiency of 35-40%.
Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC)
The fuel is continuously fed to the anode side and the oxidant (oxygen from the air) is supplied to the cathode side. There, the electrons dissociate and reduce absorbed oxygen and consequently forms oxygen ions. The ions diffuse through the electrolyte and oxidize the fuel at the anode side, where the oxygen vacancies are formed in consequence. The product of the reaction is thus electrons plus water steam and very small carbon dioxide.
Advantages of SOFCs
The performance of fuel cells are highly dependent on the using fuel. Hydrocarbon fuels such as butane and propane are among the fuels with highest energy density. In comparison to the currently used battery technology, the energy density of such fuels are 40-60x higher. This means SOFC based power systems can dramatically increase, at least 10x, the autonomy at the same size. A compact and lightweight power solution that can be easily transported or stored in any control cabinet.
Moreover, fuel cell based power solutions can deliver power independent from the grid and weather conditions, which gives them a clear added-value in comparison to renewable resources such as solar panels.
Unlike diesel generators fuel cells have a silent operation with minimum emissions while avoiding high number fuel and oil refilling.
Solid oxide fuel cells as one of the most efficient fuel cell technologies has the minimum emission having the sole by product of water and carbon dioxide. Considering an efficiency of30-40% results in 0.5 kg/kWh carbon emission which is in the same range of emssions by grid without taking into the account the distribution and transmission loss of the grid. To just give an estimation the battery production causes 150-200kg/kWh carbon emission without considering the recycling process.
What is the challenge?
The positive attributes of SOFCs comes at the high cost of high operation temperature that limits their application for small and medium sized power solutions. A systems that can be easily carried or placed in control units.
At INERGIO we developed a pending patented solution based on composite structure addressing main technical challenges such as scalability, thermomechanical stability, system integration, and thermal packaging at very low-cost. Our innovative all-in-one solution integrates a complete SOFC system including fuel cell membrane, gas delivery and reforming, heater, and post-combuster into a single miniaturized unit.