The European landscape of stationary fuel cells for highly efficient distributed generation has grown richer and more diverse. The industry provides solutions for different use cases in three scales of residential, commercial and industrial applications.
Several European companies provide core component technologies (i.e. stacks, sometimes integrated with the fuel reformer) in ene.field and PACE and have already demonstrated such concepts in larger system designs. Other companies provide already full system solutions demonstrated as prototypes in ongoing FCH2-JU projects. While FC based micro-CHP applications have found their first markets and pick up industrial dynamics, the larger in power commercial applications using the same core technology still need to gain the full trust of system integrators. The validation of the technological performance and reliability and of attractive business cases is key. Large companies in Asia and North America are currently successfully pursuing the development and market entry of fuel cells in the commercial segment. Some of these companies are looking to incorporate next generation European technology. European companies need therefore to validate and demonstrate the successful integration into reliable products now in Europe, ensuring that Europe avoids importing high cost products based on inefficient or poorly matched technologies.
Besides the technical and commercial risks, the integrator industry also shows some reluctance to engage in development as their own investments depend on the core components of SME, as today most stacks are provided by medium size manufacturers that are financially more exposed than large corporations.
This notwithstanding, if FCs are to become economically competitive it is necessary to achieve a substantial reduction in capital costs by increasing production volumes while simultaneously improving the technology behind them. The learning curve needs to be similar to that exhibited by renewable energy technologies.
It is important to leverage the field and demonstration project of the micro-CHP sector to enhance the first achievements of the implementation of fuel cells. The larger production volumes of systems and components need to be translated in further improvements in both cost and quality, and into the validation and demonstration of the technology in further market segments.
Thus further demonstration projects and/or field trials are now required in order to validate the technology at higher power ranges for applications in the commercial building segment.
Main scope of this topic is to validate and demonstrate European CHP solutions for the commercial building sector within the specified power range.
Technical: Provide advanced fuel cell based CHP concepts demonstrating the superior advantages of fuel cell based CHP systems by achieving a high level of electrical efficiency (50%+) and an overall efficiency of 90%+ (combined use of heat)
Economical: Demonstrate the customer advantages and viable business models in the aforementioned power range with fuel concepts using the existing high-quality, low-cost gas grid and highly efficient power generation and measure these against previous investigations from the FCH-JU (i.e. “Advancing Europe’s energy systems: Stationary fuel cells in distributed generations” (2015).
European industry: Derive concepts on how to integrate fuel cell core systems into final customer products for the European market by OEMs and system integration companies. Provide common standards and battery limits to make the fuel cell solutions commonly available and thus minimizing the risk to OEMs and system integrators when integrating FC technologies into their products.
Projects within this topic should demonstrate both operation in relevant environments and the route to high availability in significant volumes (10 - 20 installations and 400 - 600 kW installed power).
In addition to the aforementioned targets, projects within this topic shall include some of the following tasks:
The consortium should include at least three core fuel cell component suppliers (like stack and reformer) from the European fuel cell industry and in addition to two stakeholders from other areas like
Research institutions and academic groups may also be included to take a supporting role (i.e. for example as partners responsible for the monitoring of KPIs).
Collaboration with national initiatives is recommended in order to leverage additional funding for the second demonstration step.
Where applicable the topic shall build upon the experience and achievements from earlier projects and further bring about cost reductions by increasing the volume of component (and in particular stack) production and thus improve and strengthen the competitiveness of the European supplier industry.
Projects under this topic shall improve the state of the technology from a TRL at level 5 to level 7.
Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD (dedicated mailbox JRC-PTT-H2SAFETY@ec.europa.eu).
The maximum FCH 2 JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 7.5 million per project . This is an eligibility criterion – proposals requesting FCH 2 JU contributions above this amount will not be evaluated.
A maximum of one project may be funded under this topic.
Expected duration: 3-5 years
 Building on the back of the latest EU studies (Roland Berger study & current Business Model study)
The project shall explicitly strengthen the European value chain for key components:
Proposals need to explain which of these issues can be addressed by raising volumes and in turn improving and strengthening the competitiveness of the European supplier industry.
Other impacts expected will be the