SINTEF is Scandinavia’s largest independent non-profit research institution and affiliated to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). It is a multidisciplinary contract research organisation that performs research and development in technology. SINTEF has more than 2100 employees, and had a total turnover of 330 M€ in 2009. SINTEF Materials and Chemistry is a division within the SINTEF Group with about 400 employees, and around 30 associated professors, covering fundamental and industrial research related to materials and processes.
SINTEF has more than 25 years of experience in hydrogen and fuel cell research (SOFC and PEMFC), and has participated in numerous national, Nordic and EU-funded development projects. The Department of Energy Conversion and Materials within SINTEF Materials and Chemistry has specialized in electrochemical energy conversion technologies, membranes and sorbents for gas separation and cleaning, and oxygen carrier materials for chemical looping processes. The department has experience from several national and European R&D projects within the 5th, 6th and 7th Framework Program as coordinator and core partner.
Recent research activities have focussed on studies of degradation of PEM fuel cells, including advanced in situ and ex situ techniques. In situ characterisation is mainly based on electrochemical techniques and local temperature measurements together with online monitoring of fluoride emission rate from effluents of PEM fuel cells by utilization of a fluoride selective electrode (SINTEF patented SINTALYZER system). SINTEF’s fuel cell laboratory is equipped with a liquid chromatograph, which has been applied for detection of degradation products and impurities. A FTIR, as well as MS, GC and IC are available for gas and liquid analysis. Experiences include also studies of the PEM fuel cell’s dynamic behaviour, including development of transient models.
Within high temperature fuel cells the department has extensive experience in preparation of multi-/thin layered devices (i.e. electrolytes, anode/cathode, interconnects) by means of several versatile, cost effective and scalable techniques. Fundamental characterization of electrical/transport properties (i.e. ionic/electronic conductivity and transport number measurements) of separate electrode/electrolyte materials and half-cells as well as testing of complete fuel cells and small stacks can be performed in well established laboratories with advanced and custom designed equipment.
The Department of Energy conversion and Materials also has extensive activities in the fields of membranes for high temperature gas separation (i.e. for production of hydrogen from reforming processes). This includes both metallic-based (i.e. Pd) and dense ceramic membranes which may be prepared by novel patented routes and tested (i.e. flux measurements and long term stability) in well equipped laboratories.