Project details

The conventional thermal engines used for power generation need biofuels to meet nowadays environmental requirements. Such technologies are characterized by their very limited energy conversion efficiencies, which especially when short size electrical devices are employed, are not higher than 20 %. As a consequence, electrochemical devices, such as the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), become very competitive since they have a practical electrical efficiency better than 60 % and also provide low air pollution impact in terms of particulates, carbon monoxide, and noise during operation. In Brazil, a high energy demand in automotive applications is fulfilled by bioethanol, and so the development of novel technologies for power generation in this sector is highly wished. On the other hand, to date Italy is one of the most recognized countries for the development of advanced SOFC based technologies. The achievement of a cooperation program between Italy and Brazil in the field of SOFC/renewable fuels for distributed energy, involving required competences in fundamental investigation at the nanoscale, nanotechnology, electrochemistry, materials synthesis, advanced characterization, chemical engineering, as well as real applications and degradation tests, is therefore an imperative factor. The FlexPower project aims to develop a new generation SOFC stack based on advanced ceramic materials for the direct utilization of biofuels to reduce the complexity of the balance-of-plant and produce electrical power and heat with high overall efficiency (~90 % CHP – combined heat and power, >50% electrical efficiency). The direct utilisation of biofuels will be demonstrated in a 0.5 kW proof-of-concept SOFC with planar architecture amenable to scaling up and will be validated in terms of performance, efficiency and durability.