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Pathway to a Competitive European FC mCHP market

Periodic Reporting for period 5 - PACE (Pathway to a Competitive European FC mCHP market)

Reporting period: 2020-06-01 to 2021-08-31

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.
Reporting period no. 5 of the PACE project saw continued progress although the period continued to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in lower than expected sales and installations for most of the trials. As of August 2021, 2483 units have been sold and 1865 units commissioned.

The response rate to the “customer feedback survey” has continued to increase throughout this period, with responses recorded for all three surveys. This includes the “pre-operation” survey and both the 12 and 24 month “during-operation” surveys. By June 2021 there have been 742 responses to the pre-operation questionnaire, 252 responses to the 12-month questionnaire and 18 responses to the 24-month questionnaire.

WP3 focused on communication and dissemination efforts in the four PACE target countries, via presence at main trade fairs and the organisation of own PACE workshops and events. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions, in-person activities have been greatly replaced by webinars. During the reporting period COGEN Europe launched a process to develop roadmaps for unlocking funding and financing opportunities beyond PACE.

The revised objective of PACE Work Package 4 (WP4) is to identify additional income streams from the participation of fuel-cell micro combined heat and power plants (mCHPs) in grid service markets. During the reporting period, WP4 completed Task 4.3 (Economic value added from the avoidance of grid extensions), task 4.4 (Economic value added for two additional countries). The second part of Task 4.5 (Dissemination) was completed, resulting in Deliverable 4.7 (PACE participation in European Grid Service Markets Symposium 2020).
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