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MW Fuel Cell micro grid and district heating at King’s Cross

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ELECTROU (MW Fuel Cell micro grid and district heating at King’s Cross)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-12-31

The overarching goal of project ELECTROU was to demonstrate the commercial and technical viability of a multi-MW-scale fuel cell operating in a fully commercial environment.
This goal would be met by fulfilling the following specific objectives:
• Integration within a commercial building, to maximise market potential
• Integration within the energy strategy of the highest-profile regeneration project in the UK, at King’s Cross in central London
• Provision of heat into the King’s Cross site wide district heating network
• Provision of heat into absorption cooling during periods of low heat load and high cooling load
• Provision of power via a private wire direct connection into high value commercial office buildings adjacent to the plant
• Provision of 100% carbon abatement for the buildings which have a direct power connection, with the aim of achieving “BREEAM Outstanding” (the highest sustainability rating for offices in Europe)
• Provision of demonstrable savings for the building owner, as power is sold from the fuel cell at a lower rate compared to grid procurement and water re-use reduces the need for purchases of mains potable water.
• Operation as part of a micro-grid, to maximise the benefits of the fuel cell
• Prove the financial and technical benefits of fuel cells in an urban regeneration project

Key problems and issues addressed by project Electrou
In spite of
(1) enormous investment in research and development in the fuel cell sector, by European and national governments and industry; and
(2) significant benefits in terms of reductions in GHG emissions and pollution, improved energy security for Europe, and the economic benefits from a new industry,
Fuel cells have not yet achieved the transition step from niche market to a self-sustainable global industry, and remains reliant on grant awards and other subsidies.
At the point where the project was terminated, a RIBA 3+ set of drawings for the installation were completed, and some initial Deliverables, as set out in the Termination report.
Due to the termination of the project, the partners will not progress beyond the state of the art.
A successful conclusion to this project would have helped the fuel-cell sector achieve the step transition. Integration of generated output, power, heating, cooling and water directly into the buildings would guarantee the long-term viability of this market and is critical for future deployment.
ELECTROU had the potential to fundamentally shift the market by establishing a credible demonstrable business case based on funding that has the potential to negate the need for any form of EU, National or Local Government intervention in the future for this technology if further exploit as expected.