High-Temperature Fuel Cell in Extensive Field Test

Posted on November 20, 2002

The HotModule, the fuel cell of the MTU Friedrichshafen, is currently undergoing extensive field testing. A total of ten units have been delivered and commissioned by the end of 2002.
  • High-temperature fuel cell for the first time in the new German states and in the telecommunications industry
  • Milestone on the road towards environmentally friendly energy production
  • HotModule with attractive characteristics
  • Series production start-up planned for 2006

Friedrichshafen - The HotModule, the fuel cell of the MTU Friedrichshafen, is currently undergoing extensive field testing. A total of ten units have been delivered and commissioned by the end of 2002. Two of them have already completed their tests. mtu plans to install a further seven systems in 2003.

Two new systems have recently been commissioned in Munich and Magdeburg. On November 4, the first high-temperature fuel cell in the telecommunications industry was officially commissioned at the Deutsche-Telekom subsiduary DeTeImmobilien in Munich. Previous to that, on October 29, the first fuel cell power station in the former East German states went on stream at the University Clinic of Magdeburg. It will be maintained on the clinics grounds by the private operating company IPF, as a so-called contracting model.
Milestone on the road towards environmentally friendly energy production

Dr. Rolf A. Hanssen, CEO and President of MTU Friedrichshafen and Head of DaimlerChrysler Off-Highway, and Joachim Berndt of IPF together with business representatives, scientists and politicians including the Minister President of Saxony-Anhalt, Prof. Wolfgang Böhmer and the lord mayor of Magdeburg, Dr. Lutz Trümper, held an event to officially start the commissioning of the fuel cell in Magdeburg.

The commissioning at DeTeImmobilien also received a great response. During an unveiling ceremony of the HotModule, Werner Pech, Head of Buildings Management at DeTeImmobilien and Dr. Rolf A. Hanssen, illustrated the future significance of the fuel cell technology as a clean and economical alternative to conventional energy supply systems.

While mtu's core business is the production of diesel engines and drive systems for ships, railway locomotives, heavy vehicles and for decentralized energy supply, the company is carrying out the development and production readiness of the HotModule as part of a long-term strategy. During the commissioning, Dr. Hanssen stated, "Fuel cells are a long-term strategic enhancement of our current product range, particularly in the energy system sector. They are a great forward leap towards efficient energy utilization and will create their own global market due to their outstanding technical characteristics. It is important for us to drive this development forwards right from the start, and to contribute appropriately to its realization".

HotModule with attractive characteristics

Dr. Rolf A. Hanssen sees enormous market potential for the HotModule, which results from the attractive characteristics of this technology. The system is particularly economical with resources, as the HotModule requires considerably less fuel than comparable conventional power stations to produce the same amount of power. The fuel cell is particularly environmentally friendly, because it produces practically no harmful emissions.

Above all, the HotModule is well suited for use as a decentralized compact power station because, as well as producing power, it also produces high-temperature thermal energy. This is required for numerous industrial processes, at DeTeImmobilien for instance, for cooling generation in an absorption system, which partially covers the cooling requirement of the planned UMTS technology. The remaining heat is subsequently fed into the heating circuit of the building. The mtu fuel cell is normally run on natural gas, but can also operate with other fuels. Dr. Hanssen stated: " The HotModule can operate with many hydrocarbon-based fuels, such as biogas, sewage gas, landfill gas, industrial residue gases and methanol. This presents us with completely new perspectives: Currently, much of this gas in industry and agriculture goes to waste or at best is used in thermal applications. With the HotModule it will be possible to efficiently utilize these gases in agriculture and industry in the future to produce electrical energy".

Series production start-up planned for 2006

In comparison with other fuel cell technologies, the HotModule is already well advanced and relatively economical to manufacture due to its design and construction. One of the reasons, according to Dr. Rolf A. Hanssen, that the HotModule is close to production standard: "With every new system we gain valuable experience, which we incorporate during further development and above all with regard to the series production readiness. The preliminary target for us is the year 2006, for which we are planning the start-up of series production".