From the Grasshopper Project we hope for a successful year 2021. There is no need to enumerate the hardships our society had to suffer during this 2020. And of course research and development was also affected by it. The ever-changing world is even more hectic these days, and can be easy to forget the always present need for green energy and a more sustainable future. But we are on it. For that reason, we would like to celebrate the new year with hope and optimism. Despite the Covid-19, all our members have been working hard to achieve our goals and I am sure many research projects feel the same way we do. Lets keep working hard to make this little marble in the universe that we live in a place to be proud of.
The Grasshopper team wishes you a year full of Hydrogen!Read More
Fuel Cells are, in a nutshell, a REDOX reactor where a chemical reaction takes place. Therefore the correct distribution of reactants through the fuel cell is critical for a smooth operation. As a partner of the Grasshopper project, ZBT has focused a lot of effort on the design of optimal flow distribution. Including practical tests in their facilities in Duisburg, and very intensive 3D CFD flow field simulations.
This time, we want to share some of the results achieved on this topic. Specifically regarding the evolution of the flow in the channels when a blockage occurs. PEM fuel cells work at a reduced temperature, usually, around 70ºC degrees. This means that the produced water may condensate inside the channels of the stack, blocking the flow of Hyrodgen or Air in it. This could lead to fuel starvation, damaging the membrane where the reaction takes place. Therefore reducing the efficiency and life expectancy of the stacks.
A correct design of the channels and the GDL (Gas diffusion layer) are critical to mitigate this problem, and simulations are a great tool to reduce iterations and tests which are usually more expensive. In partnership with AVL, ZBT has carried out detailed 3D simulations of individual cells. Providing important information for the whole stack and the design of the flow field.
The results of the simulation show good promise towards developing a stack for maximized life expectancy. With a considerably reduced blockage impact of the condensate water in the channel flow. With this, Grasshopper is a step closer to reduce the Levelized costs of electricity produced on Hydrogen Fuel Cells in stationary applications.
Don’t forget to check more about this in the ZBT and AVL website.Read More
Like every 6 months, and as the construction of the pilot plant continues, the periodic consortium meeting took place. This time in Abengoa’s HQ in Seville in February 2020 from the 25th to the 27th. After reviewing the status of the project, the meeting was especially packed with lots of technical details and 1-on-1 discussions between the partners. Since the testing phase approaches, there were many details to go through together. And there is no better opportunity than a presential meeting. Some of the key aspects were the Grasshopper stacks development and the pilot plant construction. We also continued exploring the market applications for the resulting product. A process that started back at our consortium meeting in Duisburg last year.
This time the chosen location was Seville, Abengoa’s Headquarters, where the construction of the pilot plant was taking place. Not only to enjoy the much warmer winter weather of southern Spain but also to give the whole consortium an in-detail visit of the plant. We spent a good couple of hours in the workshop, inspecting and sharing details about the pilot plant and previous experiences. The construction will finish in the upcoming months. And finally, the testing period will commence!
The GRASSHOPPER (GRid ASsiSting modular HydrOgen Pem PowER plant) project was officially kicked-off on the 9th and 10th January at the Akzo Nobel facilities located in Delfzijl, where the demonstration phase of the project will take place. All the consortium partners, the members of the Advisory Board and the Project and Financial officers from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking attended the event. At the kick-off the next steps for the first period were discussed, as well as the final demonstration.
INEA will coordinate the Grasshopper project, 36 months in length and a total budget of 4.4 M€, creating the next generation fuel cell power plants and demonstrating the flexible operation for grid support. The power plant uses green hydrogen and converts this into electricity and heat without emissions. With the variations in demand and consumption of energy from renewable sources such as sun and wind, a stable energy supply will rely more and more on flexible operation power plants.
The consortium consists, apart from INEA-Informatizacija Energetika Avtomatizacija, of Abengoa Innovación, S.A., Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells Limited (JMFC), Nedstack fuel cell technology B.V., Politecnico di Milano (Polimi) and Zentrum für Brennstoffzellen Technik Gmbh (ZBT).
The Advisory Board, consisting of members from Akzo Nobel Industrial Chemicals B.V, Tennet TSO B.V, SWW Wunsiedel and members of GOFLEX consortium, will be consulted during the project phase.
The innovative MEAs (membrane electrode assembly), stacks and fuel cell system will be developed through modelling, experiments and industrial experience by JMFC, ZBT and Nedstack. Abengoa Innovación will lead the design, construction and testing of a pilot plant. Polimi will provide support in the decision-making process through modelling activities and optimization. Implementation of the smart grid functionality into the FCPP control and grid integration will be done by INEA.
The demonstration unit will be installed in Delfzijl, where Akzo Nobel and Nedstack have been testing the fuel cell technology, connecting to the hydrogen by-product stream of the modern chlorine production facility.
This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 779430. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe research.
For more information, you can visit http://www.fch.europa.eu/project/grid-assisting-modular-hydrogen-pem-power-plant