Cutting-edge green engineering for Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are a “sustainable green energy source” that are versatile enough for use at all levels of energy production and use from small portable applications, household appliances and road vehicles up to incorporation into main power grid supply. Many fuel cells or fuel reformers can operate continuously at very high temperatures for prolonged periods of time and they are one of the most efficient and cleanest energy sources available using existing hydrocarbon fuel or Hydrogen (producible from renewable sources) as the fuel and releasing only water vapour as waste.
Promat – the insulation of choice throughout the fuel cell industry
Promat offers the most versatile product range and the thinnest lightweight insulation solutions for all hot fuel cell types, reformers, and applications. This is combined with long experience in the industry and unbeatable technical support at every stage of your project.

Promat – the complete supply and service package
Our service commitment begins with help in the design of your prototype based on transient thermal analysis and support with performance testing. It continues, when required, through to partial assembly for high volume series production, or even delivery of complete insulation systems including any metal encapsulation. 

We were involved with the early development of fuel cells and we are now involved with those same customers in engineering for volume production.

The challenges

  • Thermal management – energy loss control – design optimisation
  • Best possible control of heat loss
  • Maximum unit efficiency for optimum power generation
  • Design for continuous high temperature operation without deterioration of any system components. Long working life essential for insulation without excessive shrinkage or other impairment of performance
  • Easy assembly of insulation components and easy demountability during routine maintenance
  • Fast ROI for insulation – cost effective system design for competitive high volume manufacturing
 
Promat can help solve all these design challenges. By choosing from the broadest product portfolio on the market based on the "best in class" insulation products with the lowest thermal conductivity, we can design an "engineered solution" that best meets all design challenges. 

With access to the very best microporous, calcium silicate, refractory and fibre insulation products, a Promat insulation system cannot be beat on performance.

Application solutions

SOFC and MCFC fuel cells

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) and Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells (MCFCs) operate continuously for long periods at very high temperatures. To achieve a stable power output, the insulation systems for this equipment must be able to maintain performance at close to their upper design temperature limit without any loss of efficiency.

Single fuel cells generate relatively small amounts of electricity so they are combined in a stack to achieve a reasonable output. This stack is housed in a casing, sometimes termed the “hot box”, which is insulated using microporous insulation solutions from Promat.

By using Promat`s microporous products, a typical SOFC stack temperature of up to 1000 °C is reduced to an environmentally safe surface temperature around 50 °C.

In some SOFC stack designs the presence of silica can be seen as a contaminant material. To address this problem, Promat offers Microtherm® Super A as an alternative insulation. It is a microporous material based on alumina instead of silica and has the additional advantage of a higher upper temperature limit of 1150 °C.

By reducing overall heat loss the stack performance is optimised even though the microporous insulation ensures the thinnest possible system size.
SAFC fuel cells

Solid Acid Fuel Cells (SAFCs) offer several advantages over Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells, currently widely used in household appliances and smaller applications. SAFCs operate at 200 – 300 °C and benefit from microporous insulation to optimise performance and maintain a compact design. The development of SAFCs could offer a reduction in design complexity (and therefore cost) of the overall fuel cell package.
Reformers

Reformers extract hydrogen from a range of hydrocarbon and alcohol based fuels. High temperatures are required for maximum efficiency in the reforming process. Promat offers solutions for the insulation of reformers on all types of fuel cells. Many reformers are cylindrical in design and easily insulated with microporous pipe insulation or flexible products. Insulation design can be particularly difficult in small domestic PEFC units. Here, the component is frequently a complex three-dimensional shape that is virtually impossible to insulate using conventional panel or block insulations.

For these applications FREEFLOW® is the preferred solution as it is a pourable granular microporous insulation – all the performance of Microtherm® but combined with the "space filling" ease of a freely pourable powder!
Balance-of-plant (BOP)

The balance of plant (BOP) consists of all the system components such as fuel pumps, air compressors, heat exchangers, fans etc that are required to circulate the gases and liquids in the fuel cell operation.

The best efficiency of balance-of-plant is achieved using microporous products for pipes and cylindrical shapes – Microtherm® MPS and Microtherm® flexible panels offer an unbeatable performance coupled with easy shaping and fast, simple fitting.
Additional services

For cost effective series production, Promat can offer a wide range of additional support services: 
  • moulding capability 
  • high volume shaping capabilities (pre-formed in-house) 
  • partial assembly and metal encapsulation
  • complete system delivery capability – also available as a "kit of parts" to simplify customer assembly process
Promat offers a more complete "package" than any other insulation provider of passive fire protection or insulation materials. Our services are designed to help with reducing assembly times and installation costs.

Selected Products

Click into one of the circles to choose your desired application and see a selection from our customised product portfolio. Then click on the desired product image to get detailed information. Contact your national Promat company for tailormade solutions to suit your own specific requirements.
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