Fuel cells have shown great promise for residential micro-Combined Heat and Power (mCHP) generation due to their high electrical efﬁciency and ability to run on conventional heating fuels. Technology leaders in this sector are nearing commercial deployment following extensive field trials but high capital costs remain a key challenge to the advancement of this sector and mass market introduction in Europe. The 36 month HEATSTACK project, funded through the FCH Joint Undertaking and Horizon 2020, focuses on reducing the cost of the two most expensive components within the fuel cell system; the fuel cell stack and heat exchanger, which together represent the majority of total system CAPEX.
Cost reductions of up to 60% for each component technology will be achieved by:
- Advancing proven component technologies through the optimisation of design, materials and production processes for improved performance and quality;
- Developing and applying novel tooling for laser welding and automated production lines to remove manual processing steps;
- Improving cycle times and reducing time to market;
- Demonstrating design flexibility and production scalability for mass manufacturing (10.000 units per annum);
- Developing core supply chain relationships to allow for competitive sourcing strategies.
The HEATSTACK project represents a key step towards achieving commercial cost targets for fuel cell mCHP appliances, bringing together leading technology providers in the fuel cell mCHP supply chain with extensive industrial expertise to accelerate the development towards volume production of the fuel cell stacks and heat exchangers. Cost reductions will be achieved through advanced design, development and industrialisation of core manufacturing processes. Improvements to component performance with advanced materials will reduce system degradation and improve overall system efficiency and lifetime.
The HEATSTACK project will deliver a production-ready CAPH design and process, and a production line for the SOC stack glass seals including glass-paste and electrical insulating layers. This will represent a crucial step towards achieving cost reductions of more than 50% for these two key SOFC mCHP system components. Through this, HEATSTACK will have a huge impact on the overall fuel cell system costs. Further cost improvements of main components (e.g. Insulation, Reformer, Fan) as well as a volume effect generated from this project and other FCH JU initiatives under the Horizon 2020 programme, are the main drivers for achieving commercial cost targets. Through the establishment of the mass market in Europe (100.000 unit sales for per annum), a reduction of 80% is targeted.