In a drive to reduce their energy costs and emissions, the Belgian family Van den Eynde decided to switch from their old heating system to a fuel cell system. The PACE project had the privilige to interview them:

Why did you want to put a fuel cell and not just a new boiler in the house?

First I want to tell you that we switched from an old heating oil burner (+/- 30 years) to natural gas. This alone was a huge difference, no more monitoring of the oil tank, no odor nuisance and no roaring installation in the storage room. The reason we opted for a fuel cell was to contribute to the environment, and above all, to generate our own electricity. The space on our roof does not allow to install sufficient solar panels. Since we were also not convinced to install it on a flat roof, the solution was to opt for a fuel cell system from Viessmann, the Vitovalor PT2, instead of a regular heating installation.

How did you hear about the fuel cell heating system?

We heard about the Vitoval PT2 via our eldest son who works in the heating sector and we were immediately enthusiastic about it. Given the limited possibilities, this was “the” innovative solution for us. Even our installer didn’t know it existed.

What changes have you noticed in your energy bill?

As mentioned earlier, we switched first from heating oil to natural gas. We noticed a change twice. First of all, our consumption of heating oil and gas was about the same, with the difference that heating oil is more expensive than gas. Today, we have a complete empty electricity bill.

What do you think is the biggest advantage of the new installation in your home?

The biggest advantage of this installation is the whisper-quiet burner and fuel cell, together with the even distribution of heat. No more a situation when it is too cold or too hot which we had with the older heating systems. Through an outdoor sensor, the temperature of the sanitary water is being controlled and you have a permanent heat control throughout the room. That is just fantastic.

Are there any disadvantages to the new system?

Oh yes, as with everything you will find advantages and disadvantages. In the transition period from winter to summer and vice versa, the system has to look for the appropriate temperature until the weather is stable again.But since we’ve been working with a custom indoor thermostat, this little minus is pretty much as good as gone. And you generate less electricity in the summer as the demand for heat in summer is lower than in winter.

Anything else you want to say?

What I want to say is that we are very happy that we made this decision and do not regret it for a second. You are also not dependent on the weather, sun or rain, good or bad weather, you always produce electricity as opposed to solar panels. Thanks to Viessmann and especially to our son who informed us about this innovative installation.