The UK has been quite supportive in terms of policy framework when it comes to Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration, with the existence of favourable Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) schemes. Nevertheless, the future of such FiT after 2019 is uncertain, as well as there is uncertainty around Brexit and the fate of EU funds directed to stationary fuel cells.
For Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration to go mainstream in the country (i.e. 10%-20% uptake of the total heating market) awareness among customers should be significantly increased, installations should become suitable for most properties and, once the mass market commercialisation has been achieved and costs have dropped down, the products should become subsidy-free. Therefore, the path for this energy solution to become mainstream is still very long, but the following recommendations could be relevant for the future large-scale uptake of the UK market:
- High-level recognition of the environmental and energy security contribution of Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration technologies towards the UK energy transition is key for the successful mass commercialization of these products in the UK. The country is indeed on the right track, being micro-Cogeneration the only technology fuelled by a non-renewable energy source to be incentivised at national level with Feed-in-Tariffs.
- As long as these Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration products can deliver system wide benefits in terms of primary energy savings, GHG (including CO2, NOx, SOx) reductions, RES integration, adequate support schemes should be designed to reward these technologies and facilitate their mass market uptake.
- Addressing barriers to market (i.e. system up-front costs, maintenance costs and lack of evidence on performance and reliability), as well as technical barriers related to the products, is also necessary in order to ensure an environment favourable to the market development of Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration at both EU and national levels.
- Partnerships between industry, policymakers and customers are essential for the promotion of Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration in the UK. It would contribute to an increase in awareness among the potential end-users, better informing them about the benefits of micro-Cogeneration. Communication on Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration should be therefore increased and improved.
To conclude, the UK has shown a good general interest in hydrogen technologies, be they solutions for the transport sector or Fuel Cell micro-Cogeneration. What emerged from the ene.field dissemination activities in the country, is that in the UK there is high potential for hydrogen-fuelled technologies not only at national level, but even more at regional and local level.