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Industry and stakeholders declare their support for stationary fuel cells

Recently industry and stakeholders from the energy sector launched the Joint Declaration on Stationary Fuel Cells for Green Buildings to draw attention to the tremendous potential of stationary fuel cells to decarbonise the European building sector. With heating and cooling in buildings responsible for 36 percent of carbon emissions in Europe, the signatories call for action to reduce the carbon footprint in the buildings sector with efficient, renewable and decentralised smart energy solutions.

Proponents, researchers, and industrial stakeholders within the stationary fuel cell sector wish to draw attention to the tremendous potential that such micro fuel cell combined heat and power (CHP) systems have in helping the EU achieve its climate and energy objectives in residential and commercial buildings (graphic courtesy PACE).

The signatories of the joint declaration launched on November 19, 2019, acknowledge that households and small businesses will play a vital role in the energy transition and stress that stationary fuel cells can deliver a great contribution to the EU’s climate and energy objectives today and in the future, as part of a package of technology and market solutions tailored to residential and commercial buildings.

According to them, stationary fuel cells are at a critical stage in market adoption. Production and market uptake need to be increased and consumer and supply chain awareness must improve.

Stationary fuel cells reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions, and local air pollution. They can be connected to the gas grid or installed off-grid, but they use hydrogen to efficiently produce heat and power and will increasingly run on renewable hydrogen or synthetic gases.

Their deployment will help transform Europeans from energy consumers to energy ‘prosumers’ (producer-consumers), putting them at the centre of a future decentralised energy system.

Hans Korteweg, Managing Director of COGEN Europe, the coordinator of the PACE project bringing Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration to mass market, calls upon all stakeholders to start acting today:

To maximise the decarbonisation potential of Stationary Fuel Cells we need sound and ambitious policies at European, national and local level to create a level-playing field for all energy solutions. Secondly, we need a commitment by industry to innovate in technology solutions, market deployment and customer empowerment. Finally, targeted funding and financing opportunities will address the industry’s needs and bridge the gap between early market uptake and mass commercialisation, said Hans Korteweg.

Jari Kiviaho, Senior Principal Scientist at VTT Smart Industry and Energy Systems, coordinating the ComsSos project, strongly believes in the potential and benefits of stationary fuel cells.

The ComSos project aims at strengthening the European Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) industry’s world-leading position for SOFC products in the range of 10-60 kWe. A key objective of the ComSos project is to validate and demonstrate fuel cell-based combined heat and power solutions in the mid-sized power ranges and the outcome gives proof of the superior advantages of such systems, underlying business models, and key benefits for the customer, Jari Kiviaho said.

About PACE and ComSos

Pathway to a Competitive European Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration market (PACE) is a major EUR 90 million public-private EU project co-funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) and brings together European manufacturers – BDR Thermea, Bosch, SOLIDpower, Sunfire and Viessmann – research institutes and other key energy stakeholders – COGEN Europe, DTU, Element Energy and EWE– making the products available across 11 European countries.

By unlocking the large-scale European deployment of the state of the art smart energy solution for private homes, Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration, PACE will see over 2 800 householders across Europe reaping the benefits of this home energy system. The project will enable manufacturers to move towards product industrialisation and will foster market development at the national level by working together with building professionals and the wider energy community. The project uses modern fuel cell technology to produce efficient heat and electricity at home, empowering consumers in their energy choices.

ComSos – Commercial-scale SOFC systems – is a 42-months project (2018-2020) EU funded project aimed to validate and demonstrate fuel cell-based combined heat and power (CHP) solutions in the mid-sized power ranges of 10-12 kW, 20-25 kW, and 50-60 kW, referred to as Mini FC-CHP. With a budget of EUR 10.2 million, granted EUR 7.4 million under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, the outcome gives proof of the superior advantages of such systems, underlying business models, and key benefits for the customer.

The technology and product concepts, in the aforementioned power range, have been developed in Europe under supporting European frameworks such as the FCH-JU. The project is coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre Finland and has the following partners: Convion Oy Finland, Sunfire GmbH, Germany, SOLIDpower SpA Italy, Politecnico di Torino Italy, Blueterra The Netherlands, HTceramics SA Switzerland.

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