Fuel Cells

Fuel Cells are the challenge of the century for the sustainable and rational development of energy sources, decreasing reliance on fossil fuels and reducing pollution, in answer to the growing energy demand.

In the last 40 years, the combined efforts of corporations and research centers have led to the production of many versions (PEM, FAFC, MCFC, SOFC cells), without reaching the goals of efficiency and cost necessary for the commercial development of Fuel Cell technology.

The current market conditions require a product that can achieve efficiency greater than 60% in the conversion of chemical energy to electricity, at technological costs below 1,000 €/kW.

The solution offered by Genio Srl is Boosted Fuel Cell

BFC technology was developed as a means to effectively overcome the limits to commercial use of PEM hydrogen cells, in terms of both energy output and cost. Before BFC, in fact, no cell was able to transform chemical energy into electrical energy with yields higher than 40%. This technical limit, combined with the high cost of production of the cells, made their application uninteresting from the economic standpoint.

Genio srl solved that problem, developing its new technology, the “Boosted Fuel Cell” (BFC), for which it holds the patent.

BFC is the evolution of the electrolyte polymer cell, also known as PEMFC (Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell), greatly optimised to boost its electrical efficiency from the existing  40%, to 92%!

Generally speaking, PEM technology permits the controlled oxide reduction of hydrogen and oxygen in separate chambers, serving for the production of electrical energy in the form of direct current.

But it is only thanks to the significant methodological innovations introduced by BFC, connected to management of the gases, that PEM cells have been able to improve their performance enormously, both in terms of efficiency and durability, making them a precious ally for the reduction of energy costs and CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

The BFC is supplied with hydrogen coming from the natural gas "reforming" process.  The “reformer” used for this purpose is sized in accordance with specific processing requirements (generally from 1.2 up to 12.0 Nm3 of H2 per hour) and can be supplied with natural gas or other fuels such as biogas, LPG, propane, methanol, DME (dimethyl ether).

The "reforming" process consists of a sequence of two steps, combined in a single device.

  1. The first step is the effective gas "reforming" step, based on so-called "Steam Reforming Technology" (SR).
  2. The second step is the process of "CO Clean-Up“, which can use either of two alternative technologies: "Water Gas Shift" (WGS) or "Selective Methanation" (SMET).

The final outcome of the "CO Clean up" consists of the reduction of carbon monoxide below 10 ppmv.
If necessary, the “reforming” process can be preceded by desulfurization of the natural gas in a special unit.

Fuel processing module

Hydrogen capacity

12,0 Nm 3 /h

Total space

580 x 450 x 1,200 mm (L x W x H)

Weight

140 Kg

Fuel

Natural gas (20 mbar)

Electric energy demand

< 140 W

Reformer

Size

1,100 x 450 mm (h x d)

Efficiency

82 %

Reformed gas composition

78% H2, <10 ppm CO, < 2% CH4 150 mbar, 200°C

Load range

1:3

Load following

30 - 100% in 120 sec

Lifecycle

> 15000 h (designed for 80000 h)

Balance-of-plant (bop)

Desulfurization

Exchange interval approx. 5000 h

Water supply

Water pump 24 VDC/0-10 V

Burner air supply

Air insufflation, 24 VDC / 0-10 V - Electrovalve, 1 x 24 VDC, < 10 Watt - Interface: burner control/system control

Fuel supply

3 electrovalves 24 VDC, < 10 Watt

The technology used for "steam reforming“ is characterized by flameless oxidation, which permits the use of a very compact structure with high combustion density and rapid transfer of the heat. This means that emissions of NOx are extremely low, while function remains stable, even using low calorie gases.
The reformer is equipped with a heat exchanger that ensures recovery of the thermal energy deriving from combustion. The heat recovered is then used to pre-heat the incoming natural gas and at the same time cool the exhaust gases.