Advanced Fuel Cells


Contribution of the Austrian Energy Agency to Task 33

Within the framework of Task 33, the Austrian Energy Agency prepared a report on the possible applications of stationary fuel cells.

Fuel cell technology enables the provision of heat and power with particularly high efficiency.
Fuel cells (FCs) are versatile and, especially when used as a decentralized combined heat and
power (CHP) plant, the high efficiency of electrochemical power generation (especially for
smaller power sizes), which is not limited by Carnot efficiency, can be further increased by
utilizing the waste heat.
Through this highly efficient, coupled electricity and heat production, FC CHP units can already
make a contribution to CO2 reduction in certain applications, and this contribution can be
significantly increased if green hydrogen is used in the future.
In the energy system of the future, which will be strongly characterized by decentralized and
renewable power generation, the use of fuel cells can contribute to energy and environmental
policy objectives. In combination with electrolysers and hydrogen storage, improved selfconsumption
rates of locally produced renewable energy sources can be achieved.
Furthermore, the grid consumption of electrical energy can be reduced or kept low. This
means that - if the storage systems are designed appropriately - the load on the grids can be
reduced, especially in the winter months.
Task 33 "Stationary Fuel Cell Applications", which is part of the Advanced Fuel Cells (AFC)
Technology Collaboration Program (TCP), focuses on the market transition from successful
demonstration plants to commercial plants. The Task is divided into four Subtasks, in which
the possible applications of stationary fuel cells in different areas are investigated.
In the course of the Austrian project, an Austrian variant of the successful Japanese "Ene-
Farm" project was designed with the active involvement of the relevant Austrian stakeholders
(Advisory Group), thus testing the replicability of the Japanese project in Austria. For this
purpose, three building typologies (single-family house, multi-family house and hotel) with
different energy building standards (refurbished according to building regulations, new
construction and passive house) and energy supply systems (condensing boiler, air-water heat
pump with and without photovoltaic system and a fuel cell system in combination with
condensing boiler, heat pump or heating rod) were investigated. The aim was to analyse
whether and under which conditions - in terms of building typology and standard - the use of
stationary FCs makes economic and ecological sense compared to other systems.
Subsequently, economic comparisons were carried out in various scenarios to examine cost
parity between FC systems and comparison systems. These techno-economic analyses
showed that the use of FC only makes sense in larger applications and that cost parity can only
be achieved with German energyprices or the German subsidy program.Thus, a replicability of the Japanese Ene-Farm
project in Austria is currently not given and cannot be recommended. However, further investigations
showed a good suitability of stationary FC for the use in energy communities and climateneutral neighbourhoods.
Another substantive goal - in addition to the dissemination activities - is the analysis of
European directives and framework conditions. These showed that stationary fuel cells
currently play only a minor role in the context of EU strategies and various directives and
regulations, although they have great potential for achieving the EU's climate targets.
Barriers include the current higher capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating costs (OPEX) for
stationary fuel cells compared to competing - less environmentally friendly - technologies.
Based on the analysis performed, it can be concluded that the current framework conditions
are not sufficient to achieve successful market penetration. It is recommended to give more
importance to this technology in EU strategies and to create a level playing field to close the
gap between first pre-commercial applications (in small quantities) and full commercial applications.
Another project objective resulted from an initiative of the International Energy Agency (IEA)
AFC TCP. Due to unspent funds in 2020, 'Collaboration Support Activities' were suggested
under the ExCos. Within the framework of Task 33, the proposal "Uptake of international
standards in the deployment of stationary fuel cell systems in different countries" was
submitted by ENEA in January 2021 with the participation of the Austrian Energy Agency and
subsequently approved by ExCos. The aim was to provide an overview of the current status of
regulations, norms and standards with regard to micro/mini fuel cells for stationary
applications. To this end, a detailed analysis of IEC standards (IEC 62282-3-100/300/400) was
performed and regulatory barriers to the economic deployment of fuel cell micro-CHP (m-
CHP) systems were identified. The results of these analyses show that the lack of a common
regulatory framework is a barrier to fuel cell systems. The critical issue with current
regulations is the non-specificity with respect to fuel cell technologies, which generally fall
under the regulatory framework for gas appliances or conventional CHP equipment.
IEC 62282-3 is only applied on a voluntary basis in the European Union and is being superseded
by mandatory regulations, codes and standards (RCS) at the national level. Nevertheless, the
IEC 62282-3 series may be a good option for future regulation. In Japan, the IEC 62282-3 series
has been adopted as the basis for the certification process, and regulatory barriers to
installation have been simplified as a result. CE marking could implement standardization in
Europe. Furthermore, if costs (CAPEX) were reduced, there would be an increase in sales and
more widespread use of BSZ.


You can find the full report here.

The Technology Collaboration Programme on the Research, Development and Demonstration on Advanced Fuel Cells (Advanced Fuel Cells Technology Collaboration Programme, AFC TCP) functions within a framework created by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The activities of the AFC TCP are coordinated by the IEA’s Working Party on Energy End-use Technologies (EUWP). Views, findings and publications of the AFC TCP do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of its individual member countries.