The concept behind the SynSOFC project is the coupling of a biomass gasifier and solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) for generating electricity from biomass. By using fuel cells, excellent efficiencies can be obtained. Another advantage of SOFCs is the possible co-utilisation of hydrogen and also carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons as fuel. The product of a biomass gasifier (synthesis gas) contains not only unproblematic components such as H2O, H2, CO, CO2 and CH4, but also contaminants that can be harmful to the cells anode structure. These are tars as well as sulphur, chlorine and alkaline species. Depending on the tolerance of the cell towards these components, the product gas of the gasifier must be cleaned. This results in higher investment costs and therefore in higher costs for the generated electricity.


In the course of this project, SOFCs should be developed, which show a high tolerance against biogenic contaminants. In consequence, the cleaning steps of the fuel can be simplified or even omitted.


The project is a cooperation with the department IEK-1 of the Forschungszentrum Jülich where the fuel cells will be manufactured. At the Lehrstuhl für Energiesysteme the following work packages will be conducted:

  • Determination of the current status: Characterisation of the influence of contaminants in the synthesis gas using commercially available SOFCs; first with single contaminants and afterwards with combinations of different species
  • Analogous tests on improved cells
  • Experiments with so-called "short stacks", containing 2 to 4 cells: first with model gas and afterwards with the product gas of a biomass gasifier

Partner: Forschungszentrum Jülich, Abteilung IKE-1

Contact: Benjamin Steinrücken

Influence of phenol in the syngas on the structure of the anode substrate: 0 g/Nm³ (a), 2 g/Nm³ (b), 8 g/Nm³ (c). Phenol causes the dissolution of the substrate which results in an irreversible decrease of the performance of the SOFC. [Jeong 2018]