Fuel cell with Plansee interconnects runs for 10 years

The ITM interconnect supplied by Plansee was an important component in the planar solid oxide fuel cell developed at the Jülich GmbH Research Center. The system has now been running and producing electricity for 10 years and over its entire service life to date, it has exhibited only a very low level of aging of approximately 0.6% per 1,000 operating hours. A further development to the stack in 2010 provided even better results: Over 34,500 hours of operation, it aged only half as much.

This endurance test was launched on August 6, 2007, and is intended to demonstrate the durability of the solid oxide fuel cells developed by Jülich. These have to run for between 40,000 and 80,000 hours, or 5 to 10 years, if their operation is to be economically efficient.

Although the Jülich test stack is still being operated in a laboratory environment, it already contains all the components that a potential future commercial product will require. It is operated using hydrogen which is converted extremely efficiently into electrical current in the cell. In addition, the emitted heat can also be used. Other fuels, such as natural gas, can also be converted and even achieve higher levels of efficiency, as other trials have demonstrated.

This fuel cell stack makes use of Plansee interconnects manufactured from ITM. ITM is an iron-based ODS (Oxide-Dispersion Strengthened) alloy with a 26 % chrome content and very small amounts of yttrium oxide (Y2O3).

An ODS alloy of this type can only be manufactured using powder metallurgical techniques and offers crucial benefits in terms of SOFC high temperature fuel cell applications.The ITM alloy withstands thermal and redox cycles for longer than other types of ferritic steels. Thanks to its outstanding corrosion stability, it also ensures a particularly long service life – an important contribution to the Jülich record stack.

What is more, this ITM alloy is also used in so-called MSCs (Metal Supported Cells). You can find further information on the metal-supported thin-film fuel cells here: https://www.plansee.com/en/news-archive/News/detail/in-for-the-long-haul-the-mestrex-project-extends-the-range-of-battery-powered-vehicles.html

The further development of this cell technology is being driven forward in collaboration with the Jülich research center: At a so-called Christian Doppler Laboratory, Plansee SE is working together with the Vienna University of Technology and AVL List GmbH to improve the service life of metal-supported high-temperature fuel cells. The aim is to investigate and optimize the electrode microstructures, the interactions between materials, and the reactive processes that occur at interfacial surfaces.



Read the press release issued by the Jülich research center here: http://www.fz-juelich.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/UK/DE/2017/2017-08-07-jubilaeum-sofc.html

Jülich research center
The Jülich research center undertakes cutting-edge interdisciplinary research, addresses urgent topical issues and simultaneously develops the key technologies of the future. Its research activities focus on health, energy, environment and information technology. Its unique expertise and infrastructure in the fields of physics, material sciences, nanotechnology and supercomputing characterize the collaboration between its research staff. With approximately 5,500 employees, Jülich, which is a member of the Helmholtz Association, is one of the largest research centers in Europe.


Plansee SE
Plansee is one of the global leaders in the field of powder metallurgy. The privately owned company was founded in 1921 and is an expert for refractory metals and composite materials. Plansee is at home in electronics, coating technology or high-temperature furnaces - wherever traditional materials are stretched beyond their limits. To produce its interconnects, Plansee calls on all its in-depth expertise in the net-shape series manufacture and coating of sintered parts.As an integral partner in a powerful network of research institutes and industrial enterprises, Plansee is the leading supplier of ready-to-use metal components for high-temperature fuel cells.