With the Paris Climate Agreement, the need for short and long term sustainable grid support, has become more urgent than ever. A zero emission alternative for fossil fuel based (backup) power supply is needed. Excess electricity, from wind and solar renewable generation, can be converted into hydrogen and stored for re-electrification during periods of energy shortage.
Grid operators need power supply technologies on MW scale that have fast response times and excellent load-following capabilities. With such a technology they can facilitate efficient and reliable interaction with the grid on both transmission and distribution level, and ensure energy security for end users. Flexible hydrogen fuelled fuel cell power plants (FCPP) could be perfectly suited for this purpose as, compared to other technologies, they have very high efficiency, potential for fast and effective load-following capabilities, zero emission, and can be used for both short and long term grid support (winter months). Together with large (MW scale) rapid response electrolysers, which are developed and demonstrated in previous calls, large hydrogen-fuelled FCPPs have the potential to become one of the key enabling technologies for the future renewable energy based infrastructure of Europe.
1-2 MW size hydrogen FCPP’s have both been built and successfully demonstrated via European programs in recent years. However, these systems, its fuel cells, and other key components were not designed for flexible dynamic power to power operation. Moreover, with the applied fuel cells and system design the required cost levels cannot be reached, even not if the units are built in high volumes. This is because the fuel cells applied were not designed for MW size applications, the system and component development was not well integrated, and a modular approach and capital equipment cost level (Capex) did not have priority. So, significant (design) improvements of the system and the fuel cells are required. Furthermore, we need experience how to connect flexible FCPP to the grid.
Only via a joint step-by-step innovative approach the European technology, the European supply/value chain, and the market can be further developed. Europe is still leading with large-scale hydrogen FCPP technology but the basis of the European supply chain is small. To be competitive with existing technologies (e.g. diesel gen sets), Capex of < 1,500 Euro/kW is required to open this market for large-scale hydrogen FCPP technology.
This topic puts significant focus on the further development of the FC stack and is a prerequisite for the success and competitiveness of the European sector in future.
TRL start: 3, TRL end: 6
MRL start 2, MRL end 6
Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD (dedicated mailbox JRC-PTT-H2SAFETY@ec.europa.eu).
The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 4 million would allow the specific challenges to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Expected duration: 3 years