Visual high-temperature fuel cell systems

High-temperature fuel cell systems

The new solid oxide ceramic high-temperature fuel cell systems (SOFC) from Bosch provide flexible and ultra-efficient electricity and heat generation using renewable and conventional energy sources. SOFCs are a key technology for our future energy system and accelerate the transition to renewable energies.

A flexible and efficient fuel cell system

Graphic fuel cell

Our most important goals for the future are improved energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, new technologies need to generate electricity and heat with greater efficiency – and they need to work across a variety of fuel sources. The solid oxide ceramic high-temperature fuel cell systems (also known as “SOFC systems”) from Bosch do exactly that. They achieve an electrical efficiency of 60 percent, generating electrical power between five and eleven kilowatts. In addition, they can be operated using different energy sources – whether it is renewable hydrogen or methane or conventional natural gas.

60 percent

efficiency generating electrical power between five to eleven kilowatts

Running on gas – renewable or conventional

Bosch high-temperature fuel cells will be a key technology in our future energy system, thanks to its efficient and flexible properties. Importantly, the fuel cells play a critical role in complementing the fluctuations that are inherent to energy generation from wind farms and photovoltaic power plants, supplying power when wind dies down and the sun sets. Innovative control algorithms guarantee that SOFCs always supply the exact amount of electric power that is needed at any given time. This degree of flexibility makes power grids exceedingly stable. The high-temperature fuel cells will also play a key supporting role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources because both hydrogen and methane – produced using renewable energy – can serve as fuels.

Fuel flexibility

renewable hydrogen, synthetic methane and conventional natural gas

The new fuel cell systems have a highly compact and modular design. They can generate electricity in a decentralized manner as individual units. Additionally, they can also be integrated into larger systems providing a greater total power output. Several prototypes of the high-temperature fuel cell systems were developed as part of a research project at Bosch. The research team worked on a technical and thermodynamic concept and design, as well as on the accompanying system simulations. Their goal is to industrialize the SOFC technology.

Exterior view of a high-temperature fuel cell system made by Bosch
Exterior view
Internal view of a high-temperature fuel cell system made by Bosch
Internal view

Creating a mass-produced product

The Bosch operating units Powertrain Solutions and Thermotechnology are now responsible for the further development of these high-temperature fuel cell systems. They are working on turning this efficient and flexible energy converter into a market-ready, mass-produced product.

Bosch believes that the highly efficient fuel cell, with its very low emissions, has an important role to play in energy systems’ security of supply and flexibility.

Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector

Summary

High-temperature fuel cell systems are flexible and highly efficient, which makes them the perfect technology for balancing out fluctuations in energy generation from wind farms and photovoltaic power plants. They can also be used with both renewable and fossil fuel sources, which means they support the transition to a sustainable energy system. Bosch contributes to a significant reduction of greenhouse gases and improves our quality of life with this innovative solution.

Fuel cell

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Tobias Beck
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