Appeared in the last issue of REHVA journal, the paper named “Fuel Cell Cogeneration for building sector: European status“, developed by Marta Gandiglio, Domenico Ferrero, Andrea Lanzini and Massimo Santarelli from Politecnico di Torino, mentioned Comsos European project when it turns to speak about non-residential building sector includes all the commercial activities and office buildings in which FC microCHP systems could be used.
The advantages of fuel cell based micro-cogeneration systems are the high electrical and total efficiency coupled with zero pollutants emission, which makes them good candidates for distributed generation in the building sector. The status of installations, worldwide and European initiatives and the available supporting schemes in Europe have been presented in this work.
When discussing about opportunities for FC micro-CHP systems, the residential building sector is not the only accessible market. Non-residential building sector includes all the commercial activities and office buildings. This market is addressed in the framework of ComSos (Commercial-scale SOFC systems, 2018–2020). The project aims to validate and demonstrate fuel cell based combined heat and power solutions in the mid-sized power ranges of 10–60 kW, referred to as Mini FC-CHP. ComSos goal is the installation of 20–25 units in the mid-size power range, from 3 European producers (Convion Oy, SOLIDpower SPA and Sunfire GMBH).
The status of fuel cell technology of the building sector worldwide has been covered in the present work looking at specific cases such as Japan case which shows how the diffusion of fuel cell based micro-CHP systems is feasible and that the optimal size for residential buildings lies in the range 0.4–0.7 kW electrical. In Europe, different EU-funded initiatives and German dedicated subsidies are pushing the market entry of these systems. The overall number of installed units in Europe still lacks behind the Asian numbers. However, results from demonstration projects gave credibility to the whole fuel cell sector showcasing the high performance of this concept and underlined criticalities on which producers should focus (cost reduction and improved lifetime). Increased sales should be encouraged by subsidies to improve the near-term economics of micro-CHP units, and may be crucial for the technology to reach the mass market and hence for the EU to harvest the anticipated environmental and system benefits, while creating new jobs.
On November 19th 2019, industry and stakeholders from the energy sector launched the Joint Declaration on Stationary Fuel Cells for Green Buildings to draw attention to the tremendous potential of stationary fuel cells to decarbonise the buildings sector. The signatories acknowledge that households and small businesses will play a vital role in the energy transition. With heating and cooling in buildings responsible for 36% of carbon emissions in Europe, they call for action to reduce our carbon footprint in the buildings sector with efficient, renewable and decentralised smart energy solutions.
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