German consumers in need of a new heating system have expressed growing interest in home fuel cells, an assessment shared by the public hydrogen and fuel cell agency. Although there are few systems on the market these days, and pretty expensive ones at that, their numbers are rising. As it looks now, the government will continue to fund the sector for a while. The following paragraphs offer a summary of what is currently available for sale.
German home heating suppliers say they are ready to shift into high gear. At least, the members of the Fuel Cell Initiative, also known as IBZ, are reportedly working on bringing new systems to market.
In February, Neubrandenburg-based Sunfire Fuel Cells, a Sunfire subsidiary, unveiled a new heater in Berlin. This solid oxide fuel cell system can run on methane, the main component of natural gas, or a mixture of propane and butane. As Sunfire’s sales strategy has centered around the use of LPG, it has partnered with gas companies to benefit from their distribution channels.
Liquefied petroleum gas has been in use in the residential sector for decades, primarily in the countryside, where some buildings are not connected to the natural gas network. Sunfire-Home offers suppliers an opportunity for gaining new customers who want to switch from oil to gas. Typically, these customers need a greater quantity of LPG as well, since (some) home fuel cells are configured for combined heat and power.
Designed in part by drawing on the expertise of Sunfire’s former business partner Vaillant, the new SOFC system will now go into commercial production. Sunfire-Home is installed as an add-on to a conventional heating system and can be run in buildings with or without a connection to the gas grid, in the latter case by using LPG.
read more in H2-international May 2020