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Company News, 2012-06-27, 03:00 PM

ThyssenKrupp VDM wins 2012 Steel Innovation Prize

ThyssenKrupp VDM was, together with the Jülich Research Centre, awarded the 2012 Steel Innovation Prize in the “Steel in Research & Development/Processes” category for the new material Crofer® 22 H. ThyssenKrupp VDM and the Jülich Research Centre have been cooperating in the area of “high temperature materials for interconnectors” since 2001. The internationally recognised prize is awarded for particularly innovative projects of companies and institutions and cooperations between science and business that have been worked on in the last five years. The 9th Steel Innovation Prize is awarded in four categories (steel in Research & Development/Products, Steel Products, Steel Components and Systems for Construction, Steel Design) as well as special price for “Climate Protection with Steel”. This year 658 projects were submitted and assessed by the top-class jury of personalities from the worlds of business, research, architecture and design.

In order to be eligible for an award, the innovations have to open up new areas of use for steel, allow efficient production, be environmentally advanced, improve the functionality of products or substitute other materials. ThyssenKrupp VDM’s new material Crofer® 22 H (1.4755 - X1CrWNbTiLa22-2) meets all of these criteria. Its potential use in groundbreaking energy sources such as Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) increases the environmentally-friendly options for securing mobility and energy supply.

For efficient use and to build up high voltages, several fuel cells are connected in series. The individual fuel cells are connected to each other by an electrically conductive interconnector plate, which at the same time contains supply channels for fuel and oxygen and provides the whole system with the required mechanical stability.

The material Crofer® 22 H possesses all of the properties required for of the applications of SOFC interconnector plates, such as a coefficient of expansion adapted for the electrolytes, high corrosion resistance in air and wet fuel gas, high electrical conductivity of the oxide layers and good plasticity. Crofer® 22 H also contains additives such as niobium, tungsten and silicon which, by forming a very finely dispersed Laves phase, ensures particularly high temperature strength and creep resistance. The inner oxidation of the silicon that occurs with other materials and is harmful for SOFC applications is suppressed by an almost complete dissolution of the silicon in the Laves phase. The innovative alloy also provides improved oxidation resistance for thin-walled interconnectors due to the high creep resistance.

ThyssenKrupp VDM has already successfully melted Crofer® 22 H with the comparatively low-cost conventional steelworks technology and processed it into strips, wire and rods. The new material is therefore ideal for the low-cost manufacture of interconnector plates and can therefore promote the general spread of fuel cell technology.

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