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New FCH JU project Cell3Ditor

Adopting new domestic solutions for heat and power is essential in view of reducing energy dependency and CO2 emissions. Stationary fuel cells can produce both electricity and heat at different scales (from homes to industrial applications) while significantly reducing the environmental footprint and the energy bill.

As part of the many issues addressed by its research and innovation programme, the FCH JU looks at the different options for fuel cells production and reduction of their costs and time to market.

Stationary fuel cells based on the SOFC technology (Solid Oxyde Fuel Cell) operate at very high temperatures on a ceramic base substrate. Their market is highly varied in terms of the overall power and heat requirements, so that customisation of the final product is often necessary. Optimisation of manufacturing times and the need for design flexibility are a priority to facilitate their market deployment.

The new FCH JU project Cell3Ditor aims at developing a 3D printing technology for the industrial production of SOFC stacks by covering research and innovation in all the stages of the industrial value chain. SOFC stacks will be fabricated in a two-step process and will allow to reduce energy, material and assembly costs while simplifying the design for manufacturing and time to market. Compared to traditional ceramic processing, the manufacturing process will allow a significantly shorter time to market and a cost reduction estimated in excess of 60%, with an initial investment one third lower than for a conventional plant.

The project involves SMEs with proven technologies in the entire value chain which should ensure reaching a technology readiness level (TRL) above 6 (meaning "technology demonstrated in relevant environment").

Source: Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking