The PACE partners are proud to welcome HEXIS as the 6th equipment manufacturer to participate in the project, following the conclusion of an agreement with the Clean Hydrogen Partnership. The Swiss-German company HEXIS is now able to market its Leonardo micro-CHP1 system to homeowners and small businesses with a more attractive and competitive price, thanks to the financial support it receives through the PACE project.

HEXIS is based in Winterthur (Switzerland) and Konstanz (Germany), and since 2020 the company is owned by h2e Power Systems (based in Pune, India) via its German subsidiary mPower GmbH. In 2021, HEXIS certified and launched Leonardo – an SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell) cogeneration system with an electrical output of 1.5 kW and a thermal output of 2.1 kW.

“The Leonardo fuel cell CHP system is intended for residential and commercial applications, and it offers an overall efficiency of 95%,” explains Dr Alexander Schuler, Co-CEO and COO (Chief Operating Officer) of HEXIS. “Thanks to our participation in the PACE project, and the financial support that we receive from the European Union’s Clean Hydrogen Partnership, we are now able to market the Leonardo system at a very attractive price on the German market.”

According to Dr Schuler, HEXIS decided to participate in the PACE project for three main reasons: to access financial support from the EU for a more dynamic ramp-up, to gain additional visibility at European level, and to network with the PACE community. “We hope to learn from the experiences of other manufacturers and gain knowledge that will help us to expand our business across different European countries.”

The PACE2 project is a €90 million public-private partnership which was set up in 2016 with the aim of growing the market for Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration in Europe. Around 37% of the total funding comes from the European Union’s Clean Hydrogen Partnership3, and the remaining costs are covered by the participating manufacturers.

Mirela Atanasiu, Head of Unit Operations and Communications at the Clean Hydrogen Partnership is proud to see that the PACE project has benefitted not only established European companies but also newly created SMEs4: “Over the past years, we have supported the area of stationary fuel cells for micro cogeneration applications with close to €100 million of funding. With its solid consortium gathering industry and research partners across Europe, PACE is a great example of how a public private collaboration can accelerate innovation and develop a European supply chain.”

The equipment manufacturers participating in the PACE project are: BDR Thermea, BOSCH, HEXIS, SOLIDpower, Sunfire and Viessmann. The remaining partners in the project are: COGEN Europe, Element Energy (part of the ERM Group), DTU (Technical University of Denmark) and HSLU (Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland).

Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration is a highly efficient way of providing electricity and heat for homes and businesses. The Fuel Cell micro-CHP systems that are being marketed in the framework of the PACE project use either PEM (proton-exchange membrane) fuel cells or SOFC (solid oxide fuel cells), which generate electricity and heat by combining hydrogen and oxygen in an electrochemical process. In most cases these systems use natural gas (or biomethane) as their primary energy source, but they can also be fuelled with a blend of natural gas (or biomethane) and hydrogen.

As well as approving the inclusion of HEXIS, the Clean Hydrogen Partnership has also agreed to extend the lifetime of the PACE project up until the end of April 2023. However, it is important to note that manufacturers will only receive financial support via the PACE project for micro-CHP systems that have been installed before the end of October 2022.

“We are very pleased that the Clean Hydrogen Partnership has approved the participation of HEXIS in the PACE project, and we are also grateful that they have agreed to extend the lifetime of the project,” said Hans Korteweg, Managing Director of COGEN Europe, speaking on behalf of the PACE partners. “At the same time, we are conscious of the fact that the time remaining for the participating manufacturers to complete the sale and installation of their respective Fuel Cell micro-CHP units is very limited, as there are only four months left until the end of October, and most installers will be reducing their activities during the summer holidays.”

 

1. Micro-CHP of mCHP stands for ‘micro combined heat and power’, which is also known as micro-cogeneration. This term describes systems that generate both electricity and heat using a single energy source. According to the definition laid down in the EU Directive on energy efficiency (2012/27/EU), a ‘micro-cogeneration unit’ is a cogeneration unit with a maximum electrical output of less than 50 kW.

2. PACE stands for ‘Pathway to a Competitive European Fuel Cell micro-CHP Market’.

3. The PACE project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (now Clean Hydrogen Partnership) under grant agreement No 700339. The Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research.

4. SMEs = Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (defined as companies employing fewer than 250 people).