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Advancing Europe's energy system

March 29, 2015

Advancing energy for tomorrow

An ambitious climate agenda is putting energy systems across Europe up against significant challenges as they integrate more and more generation capacity from renewables. Among them, the pressure to find new concepts for complementary supply, investments to modernize the electricity grid infrastructure, long-term storage solutions to ensure permanent power supply, and increased efficiency in order to save primary energy, reduce fuel imports, and increase security. Our collaborative study with the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership between the European Commission, explores these issues and the commercialization prospects for stationary fuel cells.

We found that innovative technologies for distributed generation of electricity and heat are important enablers. Stationary fuel cells can take Europe's energy transition one step further, converting both fossil and green fuels to electricity and heat at high efficiencies—up to 60% electrical efficiency and more than 90% combined electrical and thermal efficiency. Despite the considerable benefits and a wide array of potential use cases for application, so far the commercial role of fuel cell distributed generation in Europe remains limited despite increased traction and commercialization in other advanced countries such as Japan, South Korea, and the United States. Europe must now address production costs in order to offer competitive pricing and capitalize on this superior performance in terms of efficiency, emissions, and economics.

  • Our in-depth study into the industry was jointly authored by 35 industry stakeholders and presents the most far-reaching and comprehensive analysis of stationary fuel cells in Europe to date. We’ve taken a comprehensive account of current and future market potential and benchmarked against competing conventional technologies in a variety of use cases to assess potential business models. As a result, we offer a pathway for commercialization in Europe that balances a vide variety of applications with the potential benefits for different users. The market for stationary fuel cells comprises three main segments—residential homes, commercial buildings, and industrial applications—and in each there is a substantial addressable market (2.5 million micro-CHP units per year in Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Poland combined). With the right policy support and clear industry commitment, prices can be brought down, quality can be improved, and stationary fuel cells will be able to meet the demands of tomorrow’s energy market.

Advancing Europe's energy system

Advancing Europe's energy system


Stationary fuel cells in distributed generation

Published March 2015. Available in