SOFC4City - SOFC-waste heat utilization for buildings and industry

In this project the application of a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) for energy supply (heat and power) of urban areas will be investigated. Due to the high temperature level of the produced heat it would be possible to use this heat for the energy supply of different heat and power consumers (residential buildings, industrial plants, etc.). One aim is to provide the SOFC-heat at several temperature levels in order to establish the advantages of the fuel cell. On the one hand the legal and market-based conditions will be evaluated, on the other hand the technological feasibility will be scoured by the use of CFD-simulation of the heat production.

Short Description




Starting point / motivation

The fuel cell is a promising technology due to their high electrical efficiency of combined heat and power generation in the small power range up to 1 MWel.

Nowadays the activities on the market are focused on fuel cell heating appliances in which mainly PEFC and SOFC fuel cells with an electrical output power range from 1 – 5 kWel are available. Due to the high operating temperature of the SOFC fuel cell various fuels (natural gas, biogas, hydrogen, methanol, …..) can be basically used and fossil fuels can be substituted by renewable energy sources (second generation biofuels e.g. SNG, BtL).

The lifetime of fuel cells depends essentially on their heating rate in the startup and shut down cycle. High heating rates cause high thermal stress in the stacks and reduce the lifetime of the stack sealing, for that reason low heating rates are intended. Even the startup-procedure of small SOFC - systems can take a time of several days in order to avoid fast degradation.

This is the reason why SOFC – fuel cells react very slowly and they are not able to succeed fast energy requires. The solution of this problem is to use the fuel cell to cover the energy base load, for peak load coverage an additional system (for example energy storage system, additional burner) is required.

In the project SOFC4City the legal, market based and technological feasibility of the SOFC-heat usage at several temperature levels is scoured.

Contents and goals

  • Investigation of legal and market based conditions

  • CFD-simulation of the fuel cell heating system

  • Validation of the CFD-model

  • Probing of the SOFC-heat generation at different temperature levels and feasibility

  • Generation of basic knowledge for a following project


  • Analysis of legal and market based conditions

  • Use of numerical methods for model development and validated measurement

Expected results

  • Validated simulation model of the SOFC fuel cell

  • Knowledge on the feasibility of SOFC-heat generation and usage at different temperature levels

  • Simulation model and measurement data for an additional project

Project Partners

Project management

Forschung Burgenland GmbH

Project or cooperation partners

  • Austrian Energy Agency (AEA)

  • Vaillant Group Austria GmbH

Contact Address

DI Erich Terkovics
Steinamanger Straße 21
A-7423 Pinkafeld
Tel.: +43 (05) 7705-5443