Foto: Frontansicht des Passivhauskindergartens Ziersdorf

IEA-AFC Annex 35: Fuel cells for portable applications

The aim of Annex 35 is the information exchange on the status and new developments of portable fuel cell systems and comprises the development and manufacture of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) all the way through to system components such as electronic converters or gas supply units. In addition the setup and configuration of hybridized systems and the key topics of secure operation, codes and standards are of interest.

Short Description

All types of fuel cells are developed for portable applications. Due to user-friendliness, the focus is on low-temperature and direct-alcohol fuel cells.
A key aspect for the broad application is the reduction of the cost of current systems. There are several approaches such as: The cost can be reduced by the development of new materials and synthesis procedures but also by the use of cheaper and more efficient catalysts and stack components, and by higher piece numbers. The life time should be increased to 10,000 hours within the next few years. Enhanced efficiency and performance will lead to longer operating times, lower heat losses and reduced CO2 emissions.

The subjects of subtasks of the Annex 35 are:

  • System analysis and hybridization
  • System, stack and cell development
  • Codes and standards, safety conditions, fuels and their packaging, transport
  • Extension of the life time for portable fuel cells

The research activities of the Graz University of Technology in Annex 35 focus predominantly on subtask 2 "System, stack and cell development" and subtask 4 "Extension of the life time for portable fuel cells".

In particular, the development and characterization of new materials for fuel cells, which convert liquid fuels such as ethanol and NaBH4 efficiently into electrical energy, will be discussed in the period from 2014 to 2017. To improve the performance of the alkaline direct ethanol fuel cell (DEFC), multi-stage processes are developed for the synthesis of Pt-free anode catalysts and polysaccharide membranes based on composite materials.

Manufactured Membrane Electrode Assembly included self-synthesized Pt-free electrocatalysts and a self-developed polysaccharide based anion exchange membrane for the alkaline direct ethanol fuel cell (Source: Graz University of Technology, CEET, 2017)
Manufactured Membrane Electrode Assembly included self-synthesized Pt-free electrocatalysts and a self-developed polysaccharide based anion exchange membrane for the alkaline direct ethanol fuel cell (Source: Graz University of Technology, CEET, 2017)

Another focus at Graz University of Technology is the development of processes for simple, efficient and safe hydrogen storage with metals and in ionic liquids.

Prototypes, left: H2 release reactor with PEM fuel cell, right: direct borohydride fuel cell (Source: Graz University of Technology, CEET, 2017)
Prototypes, left: H2 release reactor with PEM fuel cell, right: direct borohydride fuel cell (Source: Graz University of Technology, CEET, 2017)

Publications

Publications are available on the website of IEA AFC Annex 35.

Participants

Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and Sweden

Contact Address

Brigitte Hammer, Bakk.
Prof. Dr. Viktor Hacker
Graz University of Technology
Institut für Chemische Verfahrenstechnik und Umwelttechnik
Fuel Cell Systems Group
Inffeldgasse 25 C, 8010 Graz
E-Mail: brigitte.hammer@tugraz.at
Tel.: +43 (316) 873-8781

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