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Small Capacity Fuel Cells


Environmentally Friendly Small Capacity Power Plants Based on Fuel Cells for Stationary Application

Tech Area / Field

  • NNE-MEC/Miscellaneous Energy Conversion/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • NNE-EPP/Electric Power Production/Non-Nuclear Energy
  • NNE-HCS/Heating and Cooling Systems/Non-Nuclear Energy

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Russo P A

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • State Enterprise Krasnaya Zvezda / State Enterprise "METIS Company", Russia, Moscow\nKurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow\nBoreskov Institute of Catalysis, Russia, Novosibirsk reg., Akademgorodok\nKarpov Institute of Physical Chemistry, Russia, Moscow\nVNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • Robert Bosch GmbH, Germany, Stuttgart\nUniversität Stuttgart / Institut fur Chemische Verfahrenstechnik, Germany, Stuttgart

Project summary

The Targeted Initiative (TI) mission is the creation and field testing of demonstration samples of small capacity power plants based on fuel cells (FC PP) as environmentally clean and highly efficient sources of energy for stationary applications, and preparation of the Russian market for their entry.

Today, one of the most promising and actively evolving technologies for electricity generation is fuel cell technology. A peculiar feature of fuel-cell-based power plants is their ability to effect direct conversion of chemical energy into electricity with high efficiency. A number of countries have been developing power plants for various applications and with various power ranges on the basis of such technologies. Several hundreds of such power plants are currently passing field tests. Recognized leaders in this area are the United States of America, Canada and Japan. The European Union and the Korea Republic are accelerating works in this area.

The key FC PP constituent parts are an electrochemical generator (ECG) comprising the critical FC PP unit – an FC stack (FCS), and a fuel conditioning system that includes the second key FC PP unit – i.e. a fuel processor. In addition, FC PP creation requires a large number of auxiliary units and apparatus: a control system, heat exchangers and cooling systems, current inverter/converter, locking and regulating equipment, etc.

Despite the progress attained in FC and FC PP development, the cost of FC PP is still prohibitively high to make FC competitive with conventional energy sources. It should be noted that the ratio of FCS cost to the cost of so-called FC PP balance of plants, that comprises all other units and apparatus, including the fuel conditioning system with a fuel processor, makes up 30-40% to 70-60%, depending on FC type. One should consider also that the level of fuel processor development is inferior to that of the fuel cell stack worldwide, so works on the fuel processor development should be accelerated.

Due to certain geographical and climatic features (vast territories, numerous consumers remote from power transmission lines, huge polar regions and so on), Russia represents a great potential market for FC PP with small and medium power ranges. It is not by chance that JSC “Orgenergogaz”, a subsidiary of JSC “Gazprom”, has been long showing a strong interest in fuel cells and has made its contribution to the funding of these works under the auspices of Minatom. One of the most urgent tasks for “Gazprom” today is gas pipeline servicing that requires autonomous power sources with 3 to 5 kW of power, supplied from natural gas.

Thus, Russia already has a wholesale FC PP buyer willing to purchase hundreds of power plants annually, if these power plants are acceptable in technical and economic terms.

Goals of TI Phase 1 are as follows:

- To select an FCS, on basis of which a demonstration fuel cell power plant (FC DPP) would be developed meeting technical and economic requirements of the consumer;
- To select a supplier of such FCS in the required amount;
- To develop a draft Statement of Work for the DPP, and
- To select organizations on a competitive basis, for the development and manufacture of a fuel conditioning system and other auxiliary equipment.


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