Brennstoffzellen. Die PAFC im feldtest

Translated title of the contribution: Fuel cells. Field tests of the PAFC

Ulrich Wagner, Robert Eckl

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


In terms of installed output, the phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC) is the most widespread fuel cell type. In the early 1990's, comprehensive tests in practice began and in a short time, the PAFC was the only commercially available aggregate on the world market. The experiences from a 4-yr field test of a PC25 module of UTC Fuel Cells at Nürnberg are summarized. For the first time, the combination of a fuel cell system with absorption heat pump was achieved and studied in practical operation. The discussion covers introduction; planning the project; operating behavior of the facility; cost effectiveness of the facility; and conclusion. The PAFC at Nürnberg operated efficiently and stably in 1998 and 1999. The total service life was 23,200 hr at over 4 Gw-hr (electrical) and almost 3 Gw-hr (thermal) useful energy. Combined with an absorption heat pump (AWP), there was a use increase of ∼ 15% points compared with operation without the AWP. A cost effective operation of the fuel cell facility was not possible under the given conditions because of the unfavorable development of the price of energy during the duration of the field test. There were also high costs for maintenance because of the intensity of care and high repair costs and replacement part costs. The interest in the PAFC at this time seems to decline because of the high costs of ∼ $900,000 for a UTC-PC25 aggregate and low service life as a rule < 40,000 hr. Alternative fuel cell types such as the molten carbonate and solid oxide experience a rapid technological growth and are ready for quantity production. The question is whether in the near future genuine market acceptance can be achieved for the PAFC or whether competing technologies will displace it. For the first time,the facility combination of fuel cell and heat pump has shown the optimization possibilities using a standard variant.

Translated title of the contributionFuel cells. Field tests of the PAFC
Original languageGerman
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationBWK- Energie-Fachmagazin
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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