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Pathway to a Competitive European FC mCHP market

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - PACE (Pathway to a Competitive European FC mCHP market)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-05-31

PACE is a major EU project 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 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.
PACE project, which stands for “Pathway to a Competitive European Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration market”, is co-funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) and brings together European manufacturers, research institutes and other key energy stakeholders making the products available across 11 European countries.

Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration is a highly efficient distributed energy solution, simultaneously producing heat and electricity near the point of consumption. As heating accounts for half of the energy consumption in Europe, Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration has the potential to play a key role to decarbonise heat in buildings, support the deployment of renewables and enable thousands of consumers to actively contribute to Europe’s energy transition.

The objective of the project is to unlock the market for Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration large scale uptake by preparing the supply chain and working with policy-makers in selected countries to promote a successful transition to mass commercialisation.

Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration units have demonstrated initial technology readiness in previous European and national demonstration projects (including Callux, ene.field SOFT-PACT, Fuel Cell@home, Crisalide and others). However, a larger scale deployment is needed to enable suppliers to overcome the point of greatest risk in new product commercialisation where volumes remain low and a significant cost reduction is required to move the technology to a commercial proposition. The PACE project is expected to facilitate a transition to higher volumes in the order of 10,000 units/year post 2020.

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This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 700339.
This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Research.
Work continues to install an increasing number of fuel cell micro-CHP units with improved efficiency, reliability and reduced maintenance requirements across 11 member states. The high volume of units being manufactured will enable shifts in production techniques, unlocking cost reduction (of at least 30%) and optimisation of the European supply chain. In addition to these product advancements, several hundred installers will be trained, helping build routes to market for FC mCHP. P4 was however affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 and resulted in lower than expected sales and installations for most of the trials. As of May 2020, 1896 units have been sold and 1206 units commissioned.

Performance data are being collected under WP2 to generate the first set of project results. The customer feedback survey form that was prepared in RP1 is now collecting the customer feedback and functioning well.

In WP3, the agreed dissemination strategy that was completed in RP1 with the support of a professional external communication agency is now being implemented. A high number of activities have been carried out, ranging from presence at main trade fairs and the organisation of own PACE workshops and events. In P4, WP3 closely followed and actively reacted to key legislative developments for micro-CHP at EU and national levels as they were advancing the legislative process. Most of the advocacy work revolved around the new EU Commission and Parliament taking office in the second half of 2019, as well high-level debate ramping up on the new Green Deal in the first half of 2020.

In 2019 the consortium welcomed a new partner in the consortium, The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU), as a leader of WP4, with the main objective to carry out an economic value analysis of FC micro-CHP. In P4, WP4 completed two key tasks Conduct a literature review of existing VPP projects and Economic value analysis of the first case (Germany), and country selection for two further countries for later study.

Following a thorough and transparent process conducted by the consortium, Challoch Energy was selected to carry out the standardisation tasks foreseen by WP5. Phase 1 was completed during the reporting period deliverable D5.2 Report on current European legislation and standards and conclusions was completed.
With around 100 million boilers installed in residential buildings across Europe, a further development of Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration technologies is key to delivering significant energy savings and emission reductions in the building sector.
The PACE project will bring various and significant benefits that will drive the Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration sector closer to mass market uptake.

Reducing costs and improving competitiveness
Each manufacturer will build at least 500 units with an enhanced degree of automation, trialling the route to greater volume production and ensuring suppliers are industrialisation-ready.
This increase in scale will enable a step-change in the design and production processes, unlocking significant cost reductions of at least 30% at both stack and whole-system level.
As part of the project all manufacturers will establish manufacturing capacity for at least 1,000 systems per year after 2020, with plans for further flexible capability depending on demand.

Improving performance
Each manufacturer will implement new improvements on current state-of-the-Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration systems to achieve further total cost of ownership and performance improvements. New stack designs will be implemented in this project and evaluated at large scale with respect to lifetime, robustness and proof of increased efficiency.

Establishing FC micro-CHP as a standard technology
As part of the PACE project, each supplier will develop specialist support teams to support the units in the field and create certified training schemes amongst system installers. Each supplier will work on developing their existing sales channels to incorporate Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration as a standard product offer for the domestic heating sector.
Looking at future competitiveness of the European supply chain and further cost reduction, PACE will initiate a standardisation working group to explore options to increase standardisation at component level and at unit level (to ease installation practices).

Raising awareness on Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration
The results of the PACE project will be used to identify and stimulate the required industrial, policy and regulatory changes which will be required for the next phase of the industrialisation of the technology.
The partners will reach out to policy-makers and the domestic heating supply chain in selected countries to put in place a framework that will ensure wide spread roll-out of the technology.
SOLIDpower BlueGen15
Sunfire FC micro-CHP
Viessmann Vitovalor 300-P
Relation volume increase - cost reduction