ThyssenKrupp VDM wins 2012 Steel Innovation Prize

27.  June  2012

Logo Stahl-Innovationspreis (Copyright: Stahl-Informations-Zentrum)

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.

The activities of the Inoxum Group, part of ThyssenKrupp AG, are divided into two segments: the Stainless Steel segment stands for the worldwide production, processing and distribution of stainless steel flat products. The High Performance Alloys segment brings together the production and distribution of high-performance materials such as nickel alloys, titanium and zirconium. ThyssenKrupp VDM based in Werdohl (Germany) is responsible for this segment. The Inoxum Group includes companies with plants in Germany, Italy, Mexico, China and the USA employing roughly 11,500 people. On January 31, 2012, ThyssenKrupp AG announced the combination of Inoxum and Outokumpu, a global stainless steel corporation with headquarters in Finland. The combination is subject to regulatory approval. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

Forschungszentrum Jülich pursues cutting-edge interdisciplinary research addressing pressing issues facing society today while at the same time developing key technologies for tomorrow. Research focuses on the areas of health, energy and environment, and information technology. The cooperation of the researchers at Jülich is characterized by outstanding expertise and infrastructure in physics, materials science, nanotechnology, and supercomputing. With a staff of about 4 700, Jülich - a member of the Helmholtz Association - is one of the largest research centres in Europe.

Dr. Rembert Horstmann
Inoxum GmbH
Tel.: +49 203 48807220

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