In Europe there is a very narrow technology base in portable fuel cell systems which can be applicable for various areas like emergency and remote power, recreational applications, personal portable power and educational devices. The PURE project targets these markets with the primary focus on maritime applications with a device, which will be portable, low weight and volume, based on improved HT PEM fuel cell technology. This proposal describes the project in which a fuel cell system will be designed, build, tested and demonstrated with emphasis on meeting all major technical requirements the codes and standards required to be integrated in a maritime application.
The objective of the PURE project is to create a system fueled by propane/LPG, which is converted into a hydrogen rich stream and subsequently fed into a HT PEM stack based on PBI technology. In the end the system delivers electric power to a cover the hotel power demand of a small yacht. The use of off-the-shelf, mass-produced components and design practices both developed in previous European funded projects will result in a small system which is low cost and able to reach the specifications.
The consortium gathered to work in this project is a combination of partners who have experience in:
- Defining the market requirements, codes and standards of the system
- Translating these requirements into technical specifications and models
- Designing and building prototype systems
- Testing and validating the systems in laboratory environment and through real life demonstration in a yacht.
This covers the value chain of the system under discussion.
The final result will be two working prototypes of the PURE system, which will be demonstrated under laboratory environmental condition and in a real ship to show that it is robust enough to be ready for the next phase of field trials.
Final Report Summary - PURE (Development of Auxiliary Power Unit for Recreational yachts)
The PURE project is a FCH-JU funded project in which a 500Watt auxiliary power system is developed, built and tested. The system is based on LPG as primary fuel which is in the system converted into a hydrogen rich stream. The hydrogen is used in a high temperature PEM fuel cell to produce the electrical power. The system is designed for operation on board recreational yachts. Special focus is given to reduction of size, weight and cost.
The consortium consisted of coordinator HyGear Fuel Cell Systems (HFCS, NL), who is responsible for the reformer en system design. The Danish Technical University (DTU, DK) for MEA development of the HT PEM stack, APTL/CERTH (GR) for the development of materials for sulfur management of the system and ATR catalyst development. The Joint research Centre (B) give input on the testing of the MEA’s and the system , and tested the short stack . DAMEN shipyards (NL) gave input on the maritime requirements, code and standards en practical solutions for the on board application of fuel cells.
In the project two prototypes have been designed, constructed, tested in the laboratory and demonstrated on board of a yacht. The prototypes feature MEA’s in the fuel cell stack which contain new binderless electrodes. The manufacturing method of these electrodes are environmentally friendly without the use of formic acid. Furthermore, the autothermal reformer for the on board hydrogen production contains a sulfur tolerant catalyst and a improved copper-zinc based high temperature sulfur adsorbent. A new manufacturing technology, 3D metal printing, for heat exchangers has been used for the production of small, complex shaped prototypes. A 50% reduction in system size and weight has been accomplished compared to the state of the art small scale APU fuel cell systems. The measured system efficiency of 25% is an improvements over the 15% efficiency of the same size generators for the same purpose.
Further reduction in size and weight of the system is within reach by increasing the performance of the fuel cell MEA’s with hydrogen concentrations in the reformate of 35% versus the 45% which is the current operating concentration. Additionally, the MEA’s can be improved to be used in an air cooled stack versus a liquid cooled stack as operated in the PURE prototype. Both MEA developments will result in a size and weight reduction of the system. The use of 3D metal printing is promising when the technology become more mature in the near future. Heat exchangers with complex designs by integration of various functions (steam generation, gas mixing, three phase heat exchange, etc) are possible with this upcoming manufacturing technology.
The technologies developed in this small scale application offer opportunities for scaling up, use in alternative platforms, both stationary and mobile. The PURE project increased the interest from the maritime sector for fuel cells and taught the fuel cell world a lot about the specific requirements of the use on board of ships.
For more information, please contact the project coordinator:
Dr. E.K de Wit
HyGear Fuel Cell systems, Arnhem (NL)