Mini power station in the cellar: the fuel cell, solution of the future?

The stationary use of fuel cells is one of the solutions of the future for district heating: it is an economically favorable technique which makes an important contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. But these mini electric power stations
will become interesting only when they can allow heating the water of traditional domestic installations. This is what David Agar from the Institute of Technical Chemistry at the University of Dortmund (North Rhine - Westphalia) is working on.

The first truly functional machine-sized devices
washing should appear on the market within 5 years. Until then, these small stationary plants will have to provide a service similar to conventional installations, ie lifetimes of up to 40 hours. In order to achieve this, Professor Agar carries out research with
the help of her doctoral student Anja Wick on the economy of hydrogen in fuel cells: they analyze and improve the four catalysts that participate in the process of transforming natural gas into hydrogen until the production of hydrogen can be guaranteed for the long period of operation required. The objective of the research is to optimize
the filtering quality of the catalysts so that the hydrogen used as a source of energy is as pure as possible.

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Stationary fuel cell installations have great potential in the market, the excess energy that these small plants would produce could be sold on the rest of the network, further increasing the profitability of the installation.

contacts:
- Teacher. Dr. David Agar, Tel: +49 231 755 2694, E-Mail:
david.agar@bci.uni-dortmund.de
Sources: Depeche IDW, University of Dortmund Press Release,
21/03/2005
Editor: Nicolas Condette, nicolas.condette@diplomatie.gouv.fr

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