Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE

With its more than 1,000 staff members Fraunhofer ISE is the largest institute in Europe for applied research and development in the field of solar energy conversion and belongs to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. The Division Energy Technology performs research and development on aspects of hydrogen technology and energy storage, comprising hydrogen production by means of reforming and electrolysis, hydrogen storage as well as hydrogen conversion into electrical power and heat by means of fuel cells. Moreover, redox flow batteries, biomass conversion and “power to gas” (methanation) are new fields of R&D in the division.

Hydrogen storage systems including PEM water electrolyser for various applications have been designed and built in the last 20 years starting in the early 1990s with the first world-wide selfsufficient solar house Freiburg. Current R&D comprises fundamental investigations of single components, electrochemical characterisation of membrane electrode assemblies (MEA) up to 50 bar, long-term measurements of single cells and stacks, stack design assisted by means of CFD simulation, and development of bipolar plates and appropriate coatings. System aspects are addressed by the design of balance of plant components and development of control strategies for turn-key electrolysers. Furthermore, hydrogen production has been demonstrated in a PEM electrolysis module directly coupled with a PV concentrator using III-V multi-junction solar cells. Fraunhofer ISE is certified according to DIN ISO 9001.

The main tasks attributed and previous experiences
In the NOVEL project Fraunhofer ISE will be responsible for work package WP 04 which deals with the investigation and development of coating strategies for bipolar plates and current collectors. Main tool for coating is PVD which will be combined with other technologies as ALD from partners. Further tasks in other WPs are the electrochemical characterisation of electrolysis cells and stacks in shortand log-term measurements, corrosion measurements, analysis of degradation mechanism and development of accelerated stress tests in close cooperation with the other partners. Finally Fraunhofer ISE is in charge for the development of the pilot stack for demonstration of novel materials developed within this project and to verify economically the material developments by a cost break down model. The team has comprehensive experience in European projects derived from several collaborative EU research projects of the 5th and 6th framework programme, e.g. development of reversible fuel cells and hydrogen storage systems, and in the ongoing FU FCH project NEXPEL.

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Published March 11, 2013