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Small Capacity Fuel Cells


Environmentally Friendly Small Capacity Power Plants Based on Fuel Cells for Stationary Application

Tech Area / Field

  • NNE-MEC/Miscellaneous Energy Conversion/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • NNE-EPP/Electric Power Production/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • NNE-HCS/Heating and Cooling Systems/Non-Nuclear Energy

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Russo P A

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Boreskov Institute of Catalysis, Russia, Novosibirsk reg., Akademgorodok

Project summary

The key goal of the ISTC Project #2904 (Targeted Initiative “Fuel Cell”, FCTI) is creation of demonstration samples of small capacity power plant (DPP) based on fuel cells (FC PP) as environmentally friendly and highly efficient sources of energy for stationary applications, FC PP field testing and preparation of the Russian market for application thereof.

One of the parties involved in TI preparation and a FC PP potential customer is the JSC Gazprom. Currently, one of most urgent problems for Gazprom is servicing of gas pipelines that requires stand-alone power sources with the power range from 3 to 5kW.

The original Proposal contained description of the works under three phases:

  • Phase I. Preparatory actions. Duration – 3 months. Estimated total cost – 300,000 US$.
  • Phase II. Development of the DPP. Duration – 21months. Estimated total cost – 3,450,000 US$.
  • Phase III. Preparation of conditions for serial production. Duration – 12-15 months. The funds needed for Phase III shall be estimated during implementation of Phase II.

Since April 1 of 2004 the TI was financed by two Financing Parties that are the USA and the EU. The amount of funding made up $273,289. After Canada joined the Financing Parties on January 1, 2005, the amount of funding increased up to $409,932.

Since January 1, 2005 three directions of works have been developed within TI frames: 1) an electrochemical generator (ECG) as a principal unit that determines the appearance and main characteristics of the 5kW natural gas–fuelled power plant; 2) a fuel processor (FP) with membrane reactor for production of high-purity (99,99%) hydrogen from the natural gas steam conversion zone; 3) a 150-500W methanol-fuelled power plant with high-temperature (HT) PEMFC.

Instead of the scheduled 24 months, the works under Phases 1 and 2 took 57 months. While the ISTC allocated only $1,612K for the TI works instead of $3,750K.

Because of a large scope of works under Phase 2 and for easy control, on September 3, 2004 the Steering Group at its 3-d session took the decision to pide Phase 2 into the following stages:

  • Phase 2 Stage 1. DPP development
  • Phase 2 Stage 2. ECG manufacture and testing.

By the time of technical monitoring of the TI works by the European Commission and ISTC Secretariat representatives during September 16-18 of 2008, over 50% of TI works in all three directions (and about 70% of ECG works) had been fulfilled. The amount of funding needed for TI works makes up about $2,5M. The ISTC has allocated only 1,612M. Thus, the deficit of funding makes up about $900K, not considering the inflation rate and varying exchange rates and with the contribution by the Leading Institute and the Participating Institutions taken into account.

Therefore, the Leading Institute with support of the TI Participating Institutions is addressing to the ISTC Financing Parties and the ISTC Secretariat with the request to extend the TI for the period of 15 months (Phase 2 Stage 3) and to consider the possibility of allocation of additional funding for TI works in the amount about $900K.

Expected results of Phase 2 Stage 3 are as follows: from January 1, 2009 till March 31, 2010 demonstration samples of three pre-commercial product types will be developed, manufactured and tested:

  • A 5kW natural gas-fuelled DPP,
  • A 150÷500W methanol-fuelled DPP,
  • A demonstration fuel processor with membrane reactor.


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