The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) has found that fuel cell micro-cogeneration (FC micro-CHP) systems can bring additional revenue for their owners by supporting the electricity grid. In Germany, the HSLU model showed that this could be worth between 565 and 2,247 EUR per electrical kilowatt per year for a FC micro-CHP unit. The total benefits from flexibility are a combination of income from grid services and avoided costs due to self-consumption. Especially larger devices installed in multi-family and small businesses are suited to supply grid services.

The HSLU’s Competence Centre “Power Economy” joined the PACE project in 2019 to quantify the financial opportunity for FC micro-CHP in European grid service markets. The Centre first developed and calibrated a model that can calculate the flexibility potential of residential buildings based on the characteristics of the hot water storage tank, the thermal inertia of the building envelope, and the power and heat demand of the building.

The first part of the HSLU’s analysis looked in detail at Germany. Other markets in Europe will now be investigated. HSLU conducted a detailed evaluation of grid service markets across Europe and found that Belgium and the Czech Republic are particularly interesting for FC micro-CHP technology. The economic value analysis will be extended to cover these countries too. The results will be published in a public report later in the 2021.

The work of the HSLU’s Power Economy does not only cover economic value analysis. It also quantifies the potential of FC micro-CHP to support the avoidance of grid reinforcement, following a detailed literature review. This is a complex area that has the potential to support the argumentation for FC micro-CHP as a source of flexibility to distribution network operators as they deal with increases in distributed renewable energy sources.