Pillars of Progress: Power – Homemade heat and power

Fuel cell micro combined heat and power units (μCHP) enable homes to produce much of their own electricity, heat and hot water.

The FCH JU has been instrumental in the development, testing and commercialisation of this cutting-edge clean and low-emission technology. Fuel cell μCHP units enable energy to be generated at the point of consumption by transforming natural gas into hydrogen to power the fuel cells.

They can cut overall CO2 emissions by 30-50% and have a reduced impact on local air quality. However, until recently, the technology faced several limitations: the fuel cells were large, expensive and required regular maintenance.

The FCH JU has supported the development of fuel cell μCHPs suitable for any home connected to the gas network, while demonstrating the benefits of the technology to consumers and industry on a wider scale. Seasonal power efficiencies as high as 60% and combined heat and power efficiencies of up to 95% have been observed in the projects supported by the FC 2 JU. The project Ene.field installed over 1,000 residential fuel cell μCHPs in nine EU countries. Furthermore, the PACE initiative is bringing domestic fuel cells closer to mass commercialisation by installing 2,800 units, enabling manufacturers to scale up production and reduce costs through the introduction of the next generation of products.

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