It’s a moment many have been long been waiting for: at the Hanover trade show, the companies of the Fuel Cells Initiative [Initiative Brennstoffzelle IBZ] presented many of the fuel cell heating devices which are currently available on the market. After the home energy providers showed off their products and services at the ISH in Frankfurt am Main in mid March 2015 with their own stands – an event which claims to be the biggest exhibition for energy-efficient heating and air conditioning technology in the world, in Hanover they shared a single shared booth. The Logapower BZH192iT from Buderus was on show there for the first time. SOLIDpower also made its debut at the IBZ. And Ceramic Fuel Cells (CFC) was also in attendance, although the insolvency administrators are currently calling the shots in both Australia and Heinsberg.
The mood of the heating appliances sector in Hanover was somewhat divided. While some where happy about the participation of SOLIDpower and the announcements from SenerTec and Buderus and are looking to the future with confidence, others are more skeptical and are either looking backwards or focusing on what has or hasn’t been achieved. In this context, IBZ spokesman Andreas Ballhausen ascertained, for instance, that “we have now installed some 1,000 fuel cell heating appliances in Germany, of which 500 are in the callux program.” Looking back, he also said that the promise of 2011 (800 appliances by 2015) had therefore been “more than fulfilled”. He failed to point out, however, that the straightforward callux installations to which this forecast originally applied has lagged far behind expectations for many years, and that way back in 2009, the goal was for “approximately 800 systems to have been tested by the end of 2012.”
During the podium discussion, which was annoyingly led by his IBZ colleague Alexander Dauensteiner rather than a neutral host, Ballhausen also said that they had achieved “more than had been expected” and that they were now “in pole position.” In contrast to Germany, Japan now has more than 120,000 Ene-Farm devices out in the field (see p. 45) and is therefore at least 119,000 systems in front of the so-called pole position. The assessment from Erik Schumacher, however, who is project manager at NOW for stationary fuel cells, was more sober and much closer to reality: “500 simply aren’t enough.”
1,000 FC fuel cells in Germany
According to the NOW annual report for 2014, the area of stationary household energy received some 70 million Euros in financial support by the end of 2014. With the 450 devices which were installed until then, this is equivalent to a funding amount of more than 150,000 Euros per unit.
Over 500 additional units have been installed in Germany in the scope of additional projects:
– With FuelCell@Home – also a NOW funding project – by February 2015, 119 units from CFC were out in the field (project volume: 9 million Euros, funding 4.3 million Euros for 134 devices from the end of 2010 until mid 2016). All in all, CFC has so far built almost 650 units, of which approximately 475 are in Germany.
– In the scope of the ene.field EU project, 91 units had gone into operation until February 2015.
– Other projects amounted to 316 systems (among others, Viessmann has so far sold almost 100 Panasonic units).
Managing Director of NOW Dr. Klaus Bonhoff told that at the start of the callux project, it had not been conceivable that FC heating appliances would be brought into the field in Germany through other funding projects. It was still significant, however, that 1,000 units were installed.