On Tuesday 18 June, we organised the Energy Day "Fuel Cells and Hydrogen in Buildings: Integrating Electricity, Heat and Gas for a Decarbonised Future Energy System" during the EU Sustainable Energy Week. We invited speakers from the European heating industry, stakeholders and European institutions. We summarised for you the main take-aways from the Energy Day:
- Buildings is critical for the decarbonisation of the entire economy. Moving away from silo thinking and towards an integrated approach will ensure that citizens are active participants to the energy transition. All speakers agreed that maximising decarbonisation measures and energy solutions across electricity, gas and heat, will ensure a customer-centric approach to delivering a carbon neutral energy system. In this respect EHI pointed out that a mix of different solutions will be needed to tackle decarbonisation in the building sector and beyond, with a focus on smart buildings and consumer engagement. The European Commission also supports a comprehensive approach to decarbonisation, recognising the increasing citizen engagement and momentum for climate action across the entire economy.
- “Energy efficiency first” should be applied ambitiously across demand and generation of energy in buildings. EuroACE stressed the need for policy-driven building renovation to be complemented by a broad range of efficient and renewable energy solutions.
- While hydrogen is now part of the decarbonisation debate, its use in buildings and the roll out of stationary fuel cells (or fuel cell micro-cogeneration) is not getting sufficient visibility. Stationary fuel cells (or fuel cell micro-cogeneration) have an important potential to decarbonise the building sector today and in the future, a true no-regrets solution. They provide comfort to consumers, lower their energy bills and improve their environmental footprint already today, as they are moving from early market adoption to mass commercialisation. With the increasing uptake of renewable gases and hydrogen, the environmental benefits will only increase in the future. Moreover, fuel cells bring additional value in terms of flexibility and demand response to the energy system as a whole.
- Key industry players (incl. SOLIDpower, Thüga and Viessmann) highlighted the positive developments achieved by the stationary fuel cell micro-cogeneration sector. With more than 10.000 sold to date and key projects initiated around Europe, the industry is now heavily investing in mass commercialisation. According to the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Undertaking, planned investment in fuel cell heat & power generation by European manufacturers is estimated at more than EUR 250 mil between 2015-2019. SOLIDpower is currently investing ~ EUR 30 mil in an industrial scale production facility, matching EU funding. Viessmann has installed more than 4500 units across Europe and further growth is expected.
- Meanwhile EU and national projects like PACE, Comsos and KfW433 help bridge the gap between early market adoption and mass commercialisation. Moreover, key regions are coming on board as they become more aware of fuel cell & hydrogen benefits. Dedicated regional projects in Bavaria and Scotland aim to identify and address some of the barriers to large scale uptake of fuel cells and hydrogen. The representative from Thüga/CEDEC presented a 60 family housing development project with fuel cells in Langweid, with a special focus on building professionals.
- Challenges still remain in terms of customer awareness, building professionals skills and financing. To address these challenges, a combination of policy, financing and industry initiatives will be needed to bring innovative solutions closer to consumers. The EuroPACE project aims to address some of the financing barriers identified for the building sector, ensuring aggregation of small projects, offering technical assistance and bringing all relevant actors together.
Check the programme of the Energy Day and presentations:
Programme and more information
Presentation by Alix Chambris, Viessmann
Presentation by Olivier Bucheli, SOLIDpower
Presentation by Eva Henning, Thüga/CEDEC
Presentation by Kristina Klimovich, EuroPACE
Presentation by Nigel Holmes, Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association