The fuel cell for homes converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Says Dr. Matthias Jahn from the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden, “One always speaks of a fuel cell system. A single cell doesn’t produce enough voltage to obtain a sufficient electrical power. In a fuel stack, several cells are connected one to the other. Each of them is about the size of a CD. We call the groups ‘stacks.'”
Together with the heater manufacturer Vaillant, the IKTS has developed a compact, safe and sturdy fuel cell system that generates electricity and heat in private households from natural gas. The researchers were particularly responsible for the construction of the prototype, the design of the overall system, the design of the ceramic components and the development of the reformer and the afterburner. The devices are currently being tested in private households in the Callux practice test (www.callux.net).