BlockCell

Climate Neutral Energy Supply of the Future#

BlockCell plant in container
© Fraunhofer IMM
BlockCell plant in container

The search for an efficient and, preferably, at the same time ecological and perspectively at least CO2 neutral electrical energy and heat supply preoccupies almost everybody, from the owner of a single-family house, the planners of a whole residential area to companies. The prototype of our fuel cell combined heat and power (CHP) unit presented at November 18 promises to be an appropriate solution for the scale of a small residential area, when having successfully completed all trials. With an electrical power equivalent of 50 kWel and an overall efficiency of the CHP unit expected to be larger than 95 % a technology basis has been created, the system efficiency of which is less dependent from the load scenario in place as it would be the case when relying on combustion engines in the CHP unit. Additionally the maintenance requirements are reduced by extensively avoiding movable parts. Even though it is currently intended to use natural gas from the network CO2 neutrality can easily be reached by attaching the unit to a biogas plant.

Clean Technology Especially Suited for Applications with Varying Load Scenarios#

Functionality
© Fraunhofer IMM
Functionality
Fuel processor system
© Fraunhofer IMM
Fuel processor system
  • Avoidance of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides by catalytic processes and sulfur compounds by adsorption
  • High overall efficiency of the CHP unit > 95%; electrical efficiency 35% (conventional technology based on combustion engines reaches 70-95% at its optimum operating point, respectively 32-34% - even when operated using hydrogen)
  • Reduced load sensitivity of the system efficiency compared to combustion engines
  • Increase of fuel cell efficiency in partial load (60% at 20% load, compared to 50% at full load)
  • Compact and highly efficient due to the application of catalyst micro channel plate heat exchanger technology
  • Highly dynamic operation possible by heat integration; optimum use of mass and heat flows
  • Low maintenance requirements due to an extensive avoiding of movable parts
  • PEM fuel cell technology was chosen due to its high reliability and durability