Imperial College London has produced a report identifying important benefits of a higher penetration of micro-cogeneration, including fuel cell micro-cogeneration (fuel cell micro combined heat and power or FC micro-CHP), for the future energy system.

The report found that, when compared with an energy system with no micro-CHP, adding micro-CHP to the energy mix generates a gross reduction in infrastructure and operating costs of more than €6,000 for every kilowatt of installed capacity up to 2050.
Imperial College London
Micro-CHP system benefits at distribution level will amount to € 1,600 – € 2,600 per installed kilowatt-electric (kWe), mainly by deferring the investment cost at the low voltage level.

Wide deployment of micro-CHP is not only improving the efficiency of the overall system, but also significantly reducing carbon emissions, in the range of 370 – 1,100 kg CO2 per year for each kWe of installed micro-CHP capacity. With the right framework in place, micro-CHP, including FC micro-CHP, could deliver more than 32 million tonne CO2 reductions in 2030, equivalent to Slovakia’s total emission projections for 20302.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Danny Pudjianto from Imperial College London said: “To assess the impact of micro-cogeneration uptake over the period 2020-2050, we used the Whole Electricity System Investment Model (WeSIM), which accounts for national climate and energy strategies impact on the generation mix through time. This comprehensive analysis allowed us to show conclusive results on the significant value of micro-CHP in the future energy system”.

Hans Korteweg, Managing Director of COGEN Europe, the Co-ordinator of ene.field project, added: “This report provides key evidence to inform the policy debate on climate and energy at both EU and national levels. It identifies micro-CHP as an important technology addressing the flexibility and decarbonisation challenges of our future energy system, while reducing overall energy system costs. Quantifying the benefits of micro-CHP only takes us half way. It is now time for European and national authorities to step up and establish favourable legislative frameworks that fully recognise the contribution that micro-CHP can make to the energy transition”.

Over the past five years, the European Union (EU) co-funded ene.field project has deployed and monitored over 1,000 new installations of residential FC micro-CHP across 10 key European countries. It represents a step change in the volume of fuel cell deployment for this sector in each country. By learning the practical implications of installing, operating and supporting a fleet of fuel cells with real world customers, ene.field aims to demonstrate the environmental and economic imperative of FC micro-CHP, and lay the foundations for market exploitation.

Read here the full report.

The ene.field and PACE event and exhibition “Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration: Generating Sustainable Heat and Power for your Home” will take place in Brussels on Wednesday, 11 October.