Together with the existing theory group at process & energy, the newly opened fuel cell lab now forms an integrated research centre on a European level.

Red and blue portocabins behind the process & energy hall form the modest housing for the group’s new equipment. Assistant professor, Dr P.V. Aravind, from Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering, explains the set-up. The largest installation contains a stack of fuel cells running on a mixture of gases that can be chosen from a mixing panel on the other side. A smaller set-up tests single fuel cells and in yet another assembly single anodes can be monitored while precisely analysing the electrochemical processes.

The objects of study here are solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), which are tile-like devices that transform gas directly into electricity. Inside, fuel and air flow on opposite sides of the ceramic (solid oxide) electrolyte. As fuel is ‘burnt’ at the anode under high temperatures (500 – 1000 degrees Celsius), electrons flow from anode to cathode through an outside circuit. In practice, a number of fuel cells is assembled in a ‘stack’ to arrive at usable voltages and power levels. 

Aravind is glad the TU has taken over the equipment from ECN, the national energy research centre, which last year was forced to limit its activities as a consequence of budget cuts. Aravind says the acquired equipment nicely complements the activities of the group’s theorists in thermodynamics, electrochemistry and computational fluid dynamics. The new lab enables them to work in ‘an integrated manner’ on both computations and experiments. “Not many universities have this combination,” Aravind says, smiling with barely disguised pride. 

The group is already working with colleagues from Imperial College London and various industrial groups, some of who will deliver lectures at the group’s opening conference on Thursday, organised together with the Dutch engineers’ association, Kivi-Niria.

Ambitions for SOFCs are that they can be used to convert (bio) gases like methane, syngas, ammonia (NH3) and/or hydrogen efficiently into electricity in the next generation power plants. The main current issues are to reduce costs and to prolong lifetimes.

bit.ly/sofc-lab 

Je moet het maar durven, ’s morgens vroeg op de fiets stappen en naar de TU-campus rijden. Het is een heuse survival of the fittest, waarbij iedereen stug zijn eigen weg baant, gewapend met weinig meer dan een gevaarlijke blik in de ogen. Bij de Hambrug, hier op de foto, gaat het altijd maar weer net goed.  

Red and blue portocabins behind the process & energy hall form the modest housing for the group’s new equipment. Assistant professor, Dr P.V. Aravind, from Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering, explains the set-up. The largest installation contains a stack of fuel cells running on a mixture of gases that can be chosen from a mixing panel on the other side. A smaller set-up tests single fuel cells and in yet another assembly single anodes can be monitored while precisely analysing the electrochemical processes.

The objects of study here are solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), which are tile-like devices that transform gas directly into electricity. Inside, fuel and air flow on opposite sides of the ceramic (solid oxide) electrolyte. As fuel is ‘burnt’ at the anode under high temperatures (500 – 1000 degrees Celsius), electrons flow from anode to cathode through an outside circuit. In practice, a number of fuel cells is assembled in a ‘stack’ to arrive at usable voltages and power levels. 

Aravind is glad the TU has taken over the equipment from ECN, the national energy research centre, which last year was forced to limit its activities as a consequence of budget cuts. Aravind says the acquired equipment nicely complements the activities of the group’s theorists in thermodynamics, electrochemistry and computational fluid dynamics. The new lab enables them to work in ‘an integrated manner’ on both computations and experiments. “Not many universities have this combination,” Aravind says, smiling with barely disguised pride. 

The group is already working with colleagues from Imperial College London and various industrial groups, some of who will deliver lectures at the group’s opening conference on Thursday, organised together with the Dutch engineers’ association, Kivi-Niria.

Ambitions for SOFCs are that they can be used to convert (bio) gases like methane, syngas, ammonia (NH3) and/or hydrogen efficiently into electricity in the next generation power plants. The main current issues are to reduce costs and to prolong lifetimes.

bit.ly/sofc-lab 

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