Viessmann and Panasonic have developed a new fuel cell cogeneration system, which will become the first polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) system available for homes in Europe.
It will be sold by Viessmann in Germany from April 2014.
Although the system is aimed at the domestic market it will have significant implications for the commercial market too and could open up new business opportunities.
The companies have jointly designed the complete fuel cell system and say it offers an integrated solution adapted for European markets. The fuel cell unit has been developed by Panasonic, while the peak load boiler and hot water tank are from Viessmann, which will also handle assembly of the unit.
Compared to the separate generation of heat and power, fuel cell based micro combined heat and power systems (mCHP) reduce CO2 emissions by 50 per cent.
Both Panasonic and Viessmann have been heavily involved in the research and development of a fuel cell cogeneration system for family homes as a next generation energy supply system, working towards its early introduction into the German market.
Panasonic began selling fuel cell cogeneration systems for Japanese homes in 2009. The new product is the first fuel cell system for homes in the European market to use the PEFC system (polymer electrolyte fuel cell). By 2020, Panasonic and Viessmann expect a five-digit number of systems to be installed in Europe.
The fuel cell system can be installed in basements or utility rooms and consists of two units: the integrated DHW cylinder and auxiliary boiler, plus the fuel cell unit.
Through the provision of dedicated apps, information about the operating status of the system can be displayed on the user's smartphone or tablet. Users will be able to operate the system remotely and display data on power generation status, economic and environmental efficiency and receive notifications about maintenance.
Following the introduction of the fuel cell system in H Gas markets, the companies will look to extend it to L Gas regions in Germany, as well as in the UK, France and Germany's neighbouring countries, with the future aim of expanding to all regions in Europe.