EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M02346X/1
Title: Novel diagnostic tools and techniques for monitoring and control of SOFC stacks - understanding mechanical and structural change
Principal Investigator: Brandon, Professor NP
Other Investigators:
KIM, Dr J Dawson, Dr R J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Earth Science and Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 June 2015 Ends: 30 November 2018 Value (£): 800,469
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fuel Cell Technologies
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
19 Nov 2014 UK Korea Fuel Cells Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The Republic of Korea has world leading expertise in the deployment and scale up of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technologies. The UK has world class expertise in underpinning science and engineering of SOFC materials and devices. Large-scale trials by HK Oil and others have revealed unsatisfactory durability at steady state operating conditions in the anode supported SOFC stacks under development in Korea, as well as poor tolerance to thermal cycling.

This reflects that fact that scaling up SOFC technology introduces additional challenges related (in particular) to non-uniform distribution of reactants, products and temperature within the fuel cell stack. Some steady state degradation can be attributed to classical SOFC issues of cathode poisoning, phase segregation and anode Ni coarsening. However, rapid failure, cycling intolerance and step changes in performance are most likely associated with mechanical issues. Understanding the thermal and mechanical environment of the cells in a stack under different conditions and during cycling is therefore key to improving the design and the operating regime of the system to give maximum durability, as these can manifest as additional mechanical and chemical strains within the ceramic materials used for SOFC fabrication, resulting in degradation and in extreme cases failure. Commercial development of SOFC stacks and systems requires a reduction in degradation rate, and an increase to mean time to failure.

To address this it is necessary to be both able to monitor the conditions within the fuel cell stack, relating these to state of health, and then using this information to better control the system to maintain stack life, or engineer a controlled shut down so that components can be replaced, extending system life. These advanced monitoring techniques when coupled with validated predictive simulation capability will allow new cell and stack configurations to be developed for high durability and performance.

This proposal seeks to develop two novel diagnostic techniques, pioneered by UK partners, and apply them to advanced cell testing and characterisation at partners in Korea . The measurements are used to validate models developed in the UK to relate the measured data to degradation and failure modes, transferring this to Korean partners to offer the potential for real time monitoring and control of SOFC stacks. This will give valuable understanding required to refine and develop the next generation of SOFC systems in the most time efficient manner, and have wider impact on UK and other international developers. The programme will support an exchange of researchers between the UK and Korean partners, supported by two research workshops in the UK, and one in Korea.

Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk