FlexiFuel-SOFC: Breakthrough in biomass-based micro-scale CHP

News / October 14, 2019

To ensure that micro combined heat and power (CHP) plants will function efficiently and environmentally friendly with regenerative fuels in the future, researchers at Fraunhofer IKTS, together with partners from industry and science, have developed a new, fuel-flexible biomass CHP technology for the power range from 25 to 150 kW as part of the Horizon2020 project FlexiFuel-SOFC.

Dr. Stefan Megel SOFC stacks for efficient power generation.
Biomass gasifier with fuel cell system.

To ensure that micro combined heat and power (CHP) plants will function efficiently and environmentally friendly with regenerative fuels in the future, researchers at Fraunhofer IKTS, together with partners from industry and science, have developed a new, fuel-flexible biomass CHP technology for the power range from 25 to 150 kW as part of the Horizon2020 project FlexiFuel-SOFC.

The demonstrator is based on a biomass gasifier coupled with a gas purification unit to a fuel cell system with SOFC stack modules from Fraunhofer IKTS. With an overall efficiency of 90 %, it can be operated with a variety of fuels, such as wood pellets and wood chips with different sizes and moisture contents, energy crops with short rotation times or selected agricultural residues.

During the pilot tests, the virtually emission-free generation of heat and electrical energy from biomass was demonstrated in a wide performance range. The proven electrical efficiency of over 40 % at 6 kWel full load in the demonstrator status is a world‘s first and shows the immense potential of this technology for regenerative power generation.

The results were presented at the European Biomass Conference (EUBCE) 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. The market potential of the technology across Europe is estimated at 60,000 systems by 2050.

http://www2.flexifuelsofc.eu/

Acknowledgement

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Horizon2020 Program (H2020/2014-2020) under Grant Agreement n° 641229.