Development of tiny Fuel cell by AIST
AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)announced the development of SOFC (solid-oxide fuel cell) that is functional even at temperature as high as 550 degrees Celsius. The tiny cell contains 25 needles like modules each with a diameter of only 0.8mm arranged to make up a cube shaped SOFC capable of generating 3W of electricity. Each cell can be fitted into an extrusion molded honeycomb with a density of more than 250 cells per square centimeter. This product is targeted for cogeneration application and automobile APUs (Auxiliary Power Unit). The prototype due to its small size carries a low heat capacity resulting in a very low operating temperature. Further to this its absolute value of thermal expansion is low which translates to less thermal shock and offers a very quick activation. The prototype was actually activated in just 5 minutes and the institute believes that the activation time can be less than one minute. The current fuel cells are used for automotive APU application but by effectively connecting multiple modules it can used to provide power to fuel cell vehicles.