Scientific Projects

Bulgarian Hydrogen Society won a project for equipment of applied science laboratories

BGH2 Society launched a project “Strengthening and capacity development of Bulgarian Hydrogen Society for implementation of successful programs for research and development by equipping applied science laboratories in the field of energy saving technologies. The project is financially supported by the Operational Program “Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy” 2007-2013, co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund and from the national budget of the Republic of Bulgaria.

 The project aims to strengthen and develop the capacity of the Inter-University Research Centre Bulgarian Hydrogen Society for the implementation of successful programs for research and development. The funding is directed to renovation and modernization of the equipment needed for fulfillment of applied research in the field of innovation of eco and energy-saving technologies.

It’s expected that the newly created Institute for hydrogen technologies “Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke”, part of the BGH2 Society, will obtain equipment for four new laboratories: “Fuel cell and energy efficiency technology “,”Electrolysis and photoelectrolysis”, “Unconventional hydrogen technologies”.

The Institute for hydrogen technologies “Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke” will implement the National Program “Hydrogen technologies – Hydrogen energy”, as the objective of all project activities is the creation of favorable conditions for development of new innovative enterprises and accelerated commercialization of the hydrogen technologies.


HYDROHOUSE project was developed specially for FP7, FCH-JU and ”Energy-efficient Buildings” (EeB.NMP.2012-2: Systemic Approach for retrofitting existing buildings, including envelope upgrading, high performance lighting systems, energyefficient HVAC systems and renewable energy generation systems).

The basic idea behind the project is to develop a Renewable Energy Combined Heat & Power Co-generation System (RE-CHP) as a new innovative and competitive concept for the new emerging Combined Heat and Power (CHP) co-generating systems, a kind of step ahead in comparison to existing systems that are already reaching the market.

The final product is to be a proof-of-concept of a CHP system consisting of a single module, easy to install, maintain, and transport; with feasible cost-efficiency at least in the short run. The system will be fed by Renewable Energy Source (RES), for the purpose of this project – photovoltaic (wind or geothermal sources could be viable alternatives). In other words, the house equipped with this system could be heat and power independent of the grid with up to zero Greenhouse Emissions (GHE).

The overall goal is to create a CHP which will be able to replace the existing local heating systems of district houses, in some cases to be integrated into them to attain minimum installation efforts. Optionally, this could be combined with an inverter system to enhance the Energy Management System (EMS, which include power and heat management) efficiency and to capture the energy dissipating from the energy storage system and possibly from the photovoltaic system.


First Bulgarian hydrogen car

In 2010 the Technical University and BG H2 Society completed the first Bulgarian car on fuel cells. For the first time in Bulgaria, hydrogen was used for energy storage in transport applications.

The first tests started at the beginning of 2011 with conventional batteries replacement while the FC stack was incorporated by experts from BG H2 Society one month before the international competition for prototypes Shell Eco-Marathon.

The last SHELL ECO-MARATHON  took place in May 2011 in Lausitz, Germany. It had over 3000 participants all over the world and the BG H2 car finished at FOURTH POSITION!!!

The plans for 2012 include further development of the BG H2 car as completely new real world car which will be tested on other international competitions.

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Biological Treatment of Waste

Hydrogen Production by Biological Treatment of Waste”

Project prepared for FCH-JU-2011-1, topic SP1-JTI-FCH.2011.2.6: Low-temperature H2 production processes.

The main purpose of the project is to develop and test a novel biotechnology for hydrogen production using bio-residue from small enterprises of the food processing industry that mainly produce wine, wine brandies, sugar and fruit juices, etc. The energy obtained will be utilized for the needs of the same enterprises. The conversion of bio-residue to hydrogen in small enterprises will allow them to use clean energy, which will promote de-centralization of energy use and will reduce the application of other traditional fuels polluting the atmosphere.

The proposed technology consists of two branches: the first represents the conversion of the bio-residue from wine and sugar industries into hydrogen by means of bacteria in one-step bioreactor of special design under solar radiation and in the conditions of “dark” fermentation. The second branch is devoted to the treatment of bio-residue from the juice producing enterprises of cultivated and wild fruits. It consists of an isolation of the natural pigments of the bioresidue, which are antioxidants (as anthocyans, flavonoids etc.) prior to the fermentation step. These natural pigments are used as functional food additives. The bioresidue is subsequently subjected to preliminary enzymatic decomposition of the plant tissue. The resulting hydrolysates will be further subjected to  fermentation for hydrogen production by photo- and dark bacteria-assisted processes.

Summarising, the proposed biotechnology for hydrogen production comprises of several innovative elements such as: use of a single bioreactor of a special design,  two kinds of bacteria working simultaneously or separately and utilization of both solar radiation-assisted  and “dark” fermentation; a novel approach to the immobilization of bacteria in order to improve their stability and reuse; reversible adsorption of carbon dioxide as a byproduct; new technologies for the isolation of natural pigments from bio-residues, using a novel absorbent.

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Bifunctional Oxigen Electrodes

“Bifunctional Oxygen Electrodes for Hydrogen Production”

Project prepared for FCH-JU-2011-1, topic SP1-JTI-FCH.3.3 (Component improvement for stationary power applications).

The consortium included Newcastle University (UK), Bulgarian Hydrogen Society (Bulgaria), Narvik University College (Norway) and Newcell Technologies Ltd. (UK).

Commercial hydrogen production by water electrolysis is based on one of two technologies; aqueous alkaline electrolytes and proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolytes. Currently the dominant (lower cost) route to hydrogen is alkaline electrolysis. Proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolysis systems offer advantages over traditional technologies: greater energy efficiency, higher production rates (per unit electrode area), do not require corrosive electrolytes, less operation and maintenance efforts and more compact design. Presently, there is no large scale use of PEM water electrolysis systems, with only a few commercial systems available.

The main challenge regarding widespread use in small applications is cost reduction to increase the commercial appeal of such generators. Low-price domestic electrolysers can be achieved through high production/sales volumes, but only after economical, efficient and durable prototypes have been attained. While materials originate over 70% of the stack costs, the commercially available electrode and membrane materials have not been optimised for electrolysis operation.

Although these systems are quite effective, some studies have shown that there are advantages to using rechargeable or Regenerative Fuel Cells (RFC). RFC can operate in two modes, fuel cell and electrolyzer. In fuel cell mode, hydrogen and oxygen are combined to electrical power and water. In electrolyzer mode, water is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen.

A key part of these developments can be a Bifunctional Oxygen (Air) Electrode (BOE). It would allow the RFC to replace the secondary batteries in the hybrid systems, having highest specific energy and inexpensive and environmentally benign materials. MEAs without noble and rare metals, as well as BOE have not been successfully developed up to now.

Thepresent proposal offers original ideas to overcome the challenges of BOE:

  1. development of Gas-Diffusion Layer from inert gas permeable particles;
  2.  use of modern techniques like RF sputtering, chemical and physical vapour deposition and photolithography for creation of Electrocatalytic layer on GDL thus producing a
    ready BOE;
  3.  use of alkaline membranes;
  4. non-noble metal catalysts.
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