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This project, funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, is supported by the following project partners: Venturekick, Bridge Proof-of concept, ESA BIC CH, Innosuisse, Innovaud, FIT, EPFL, HEIG-VD, INERGIO Technologies SA, SPEI, Enable grant EPFL
Project no: GRS-056/20
Amount of funding: CHF 150000
Duration: 09.2020 - 12.2021
Area of activity:
InnoBooster, seit 2018
Fuel cells have significant potential to contribute to decarbonization and green energy transi-tion. However, despite the confirmed potential and considerable investment they haven’t reach the mass market mostly due to technical complexity, cost, and fuel inaccessibility.
The most popular fuel cell technologies are relying on ultrapure hydrogen (99.9995%) which is facing several challenges in terms of storage and distribution. This will not only increase the cost of fuel cell technology implementation but also limits the use of fuel cells to large-scale (>kW) applications.
We have taken and unique approach for miniaturize one of the most efficient fuel cell technologies, Solid oxide fuel cells. We have introduced a fuel flexible power system that can offer eco-friendly energy using any kind of chemical fuel imaginable, from (bio)LPG to natural gas and green hydrogen. We have proposed a cost-effctive solution to reliably deliver electricy in compact and lightweight format. We believe that we are providing a solution that allows a step-by-step energy transition ad-dressing the main limitations of hydrogen (i.e. storage and distribution) and fuel cell (i.e. limited to high power outputs and ultrapure hydrogen fuel) industry that prevented them to reach a massive market.
To take our product to the market and validate our technology, in next 12 months we plan to finalize our product development by validating through pilot testing and prepare for CE certification.
What is special about the project?
Fuel cells have been a notoriously reliable power source first used in space application especially in the Apollo program but have been struggling to reach commercial markets until today due mainly to cost constraints and rare fuels. At INERGIO we have taken a unique approach towards miniaturizing SOFC for small-sized and mobile applications. Our technology allows the use of commercial fuels with high energy density such as butane, the same fuel that we have in the cigarette lighter, providing an eco-friendly solution. Our fuel flexibility allows us to benefit from cheap commerical fuel now and easily move to hydrogen in near future once the infrastrucutre is ready. With our technology we are not only introducing a new level of autonomy but also we pave the path towards green energy.
To build a miniaturized-SOFC system we propose a novel approach with a unique competitive advantage of integrating the complete SOFC system on a space-grade glass/ceramic composite substrate. With this method, we are addressing the main challenges of SOFC miniaturization, i.e. severe thermal stress, low scalability, complex system integration, packaging, and high cost of fabrication that eventually prevented micro-SOFCs to turn into a marketable product.
Encouraged by the interest of several potential customers, our critical path right now is being able to deliver a solution reaching the basic requirements expected for a pilot product. So far we have developed our first MVP capable of delivering 50W, the same unit can deliver up to 150W of power. We have performed several out-of-lab testing and now we are finalizing our MVP to start our pilot testing with customers. The overall goal is to have a fully validated and CE certified product by the end of 2022.
Persons involved in the project
Dr. Mahmoud Hadad
, project leader
Luc Conti, project collaborature
Patrick Biro (project collaborature)
Prof. Jean-François Affolter
Prof. Mauro Carpita
Last update to this project presentation 26.01.2022