European Field Trials for Residential Fuel Cell Heat and Power Launched

01 Oct 2012

Residential fuel cell

The largest trial of fuel cells for home heat and power in Europe to date was officially started at the end of last week when the 27 project partners gathered in Brussels for the kick-off meeting.

This EU co-funded project, named ene.field, brings together nine European fuel cell system manufacturers and their residential-scale combined heat and power (micro-CHP) products that cover the range of available fuel cell technologies, all of which will be extensively trialled.

The project will deploy approximately 1,000 residential installations in twelve EU Member States (see map). By learning the practicalities of installing and supporting a fleet of fuel cells with real customers and with the support of 24 utilities, housing providers and municipalities, ene.field is a flagship partnership towards commercialisation of fuel cell micro-CHP. It will run for five years with demonstrations running for three years in each case.

The project will seek to establish the macro-economics and carbon-dioxide-emission savings of the technologies in the European markets, and assess the socio-economic barriers to widespread deployment of fuel cell micro-CHP.

To achieve its target of 20% energy savings by 2020, the EU needs to step up its efforts on energy efficiency, in particular with regard to the residential sector, which accounts for 27% of total EU energy consumption. New properties can be designed and built to integrate a range of low-energy technologies, but for existing properties heat demand remains high and the ability to retrofit many renewable technologies is physically limited. Therefore, for much of the existing housing stock micro-CHP is the next generation solution, with fuel cell micro-CHP as the next technology step for this sector.

With the right policy and support measures, fuel cell micro-CHP can be a key enabler for the EU to deliver on its energy objectives of competitiveness, sustainability and security of energy supply.

Source: COGEN Europe

Image: Fuel Cell Today

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