A Sustainable Future with Hydrogen

Fraunhofer ISE demonstrates the potential of hydrogen and fuel cell technology at the Hanover Trade Fair 2012

The fraction of renewable energy in the energy mix is

continually increasing. The development of storage solutions
for an energy supply based on one hundred percent
renewable energy is speeding ahead. Renewably generated
hydrogen plays a central role in this scenario, enabling a
zero-emission energy supply across all applications. The
Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg
presents a look into the future of fuel cell and hydrogen
technology at the Hanover Trade Fair 2012 from the 23rd to
the 27th of April, 2012 in Hall 27, Booth C60.

Sustainable Mobility

This year at the beginning of March, Fraunhofer ISE
inaugurated a publically accessible, solar hydrogen filling
station in Freiburg. The hydrogen is generated by electrolysis
using advanced membrane technology. An on-site
photovoltaic system provides the electricity on a yearly
average. The filling station has the capacity to refuel
passenger cars with 700 bar compressed gas storage and
buses with 350 bar storage pressure. Reusable storage
canisters with 200 bar or 350 bar can also be refilled. The
filling station itself was promoted by the State of Baden-
Wrttemberg, the operation by the National Organization
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology NOW.

Zero-emission mobility becomes possible through batterydriven
electric vehicles for urban use and through fuel cell
vehicles, which are especially suitable for longer distances
and larger vehicles even up to buses. For several years now,Fraunhofer ISE has a Toyota Prius in use for research
purposes. Now the institute could also take on two fuel cell
vehicles of the type B-Class F-Cell from Daimler.

"We are proud to be one of the few research facilities which
can test future mobility concepts in both forms, batterydriven
electric and hydrogen fuel cell, and compare their
performance," says Dr. Christopher Hebling, Division
Director of Energy Technology at Fraunhofer ISE.

Storage for Renewable Energy Supply

With the planned expansion of renewable energy in
Germany and worldwide, the need for electric and electrochemical
storage solutions is increasing. Storage solutions
are necessary to absorb the fluctuations inherent in
renewable energy sources. Electrolysers, which split water
into hydrogen and oxygen upon the input of electricity, open
up the possibility to store the electricity from renewable
energy sources on an economically viable scale. Using the
electrolyser in the solar filling station, Fraunhofer ISE is
working on a project to investigate the use of electrolysis in
Demand Side Management, that is, as a way to control the
stability in the electric grid. Besides analyzing such technical
system aspects, the institute also deals with the development
of membrane electrolysers, which are particularly suited for
coupling with renewable energy systems. At the Hannover
Messe, single cell components will be exemplarily shown at
the booth. Dr. Tom Smolinka, Group Leader of Chemical
Energy Storage remarks, "Characterized by high power
dynamics, compact construction and high efficiency,
hydrogen coupled with PEM electrolysis offers the
prerequisites that we need to solve the electrical storage
question in a renewable energy economy." Fraunhofer ISE
also shows its developments on redox flow batteries, a
technology which is also excellently suited to buffer
fluctuations in the power grid.

Fuel Cells on the Test Bench

On its own specially developed test stand, Fraunhofer ISE
investigates the behavior of fuel cells in the everyday
application. The test stand is autonomous and suitable for
outside use. For statistical considerations, thirty test cells are
operated in parallel. Thus it is possible to analyze different
materials and load situations simultaneously. Four such test
stands were installed at four Freiburg locations with very
different air pollutant loads. At present, they have been in
operation for more than 4,000 hours. In combination with
the available measurement stations for air analytics at the
respective site, ageing effects due to environmental pollution
can be identified.

Portable Fuel Cells for Medicine

Besides for mobility, fuel cells are also required for portable
applications. In Hanover, Fraunhofer ISE presents a system
with a power output of 100 W. It is used for recharging
batteries in the field of emergency medicine. The developers
of the low temperature fuel cell system are especially proud
of the cold start capability. Its everyday suitability has been
proven in the institute's climate chamber for temperatures
ranging between -15 °C and +50 °C. In addition, the system
was developed according to the appropriate standards,
enabling licensees to achieve fast certification and approval.
"With our wide-ranging services from consultation and
testing of a standard-based development through to the
testing of fuel cell products under near reality conditions, we
can now further support our customers in the successful
marketing of their products," remarks a visibly pleased Ulf
Groos, Department Head of Fuel Cell Systems, as he
describes the services at the newly opened Test Lab Fuel
Cells at Fraunhofer ISE.

Even in the smallest power range, micro fuel cells are helpful.
At the Fraunhofer ISE booth in Hanover, the music at the
coffee bar, an annual tradition continued this year, comes
out of two wireless loudspeakers, a development of Fraunhofer IDMT in Ilmenau. The energy supply for the loudspeakers
is supplied by a hydrogen-powered micro fuel cell
from Fraunhofer ISE.


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