In September 2020, we delivered a 100kW H-PowerTM alkaline fuel cell system to Forschungszentrum Jülich for deployment at its Living Lab Energy Campus showcase in Germany.  Jülich is one of Europe’s largest and most prestigious interdisciplinary research institutions that is working with German and global partners to develop the campus; the first of its kind in Europe, it will provide a blueprint for sustainable, decentralised, and integrated smart infrastructure with an emphasis on cutting-edge renewable and Hydrogen technologies.

LLEC Location Julich, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Purpose of showcase Efficient utilisation of hydrogen, alongside demonstration of innovative hybrid solutions for Power-to-Gas and Gas-to-Power applications
Size of fuel cell 100kW
Terms of contract Sale of balance of plant/infrastructure; service agreement to provide periodic electrode replacement and management of unit

The German Government’s National Hydrogen Strategy, launched in June 2020, highlights the key role Hydrogen is expected to play in the full decarbonisation of the country’s energy market.  With over €9bn of new investment planned for the sector, Germany’s expectation of becoming a global leader in the field has seen an immediate growth in opportunities for technologies that support this brief, to commence delivery of the Government’s aspiration that sees Hydrogen as a fundamental enabler to the transition away from an emissions based energy sector to a net zero sustainable industrialised economy.

In this context, Jülich, as a member institute of Germany’s renowned Helmholtz Association of Research Institutes, has devised a European first Living Lab Energy Campus at its site in Western Germany to articulate a blueprint for the design of smart technology based, sustainable energy systems for distributed microgrid applications.

Microgrids and “Smart Cities” are seen by many of the world’s largest energy system operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as the cornerstone of the world’s transition away from large, high cost, centralised energy generation models, and therefore, establishing the role of Hydrogen within this architecture is an important objective of Jülich’s high profile initiative.

Prior to making its decision, Julich extensively reviewed the best available technologies in the market today, prior to electing to provide a 100kWe stationary alkaline fuel cell system for inclusion in the campus.  Higher tolerance to lower grade, and therefore lower cost Hydrogen, was a key driver in their selection process.

Under the terms of the deal, Jülich will own and operate the 100kWe fuel cell system with engineering support services provided by AFC Energy to commission and train local operators on the system.   The transaction value, reflecting a sale of the H-PowerTM balance of plant and gas distribution infrastructure, also comes with a Long Term Services Agreement (“LTSA”) to account for periodic electrode replacement over the project’s life.