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Summary of the Fuel Cell Expertise Network webinar, 26 June 2014

Will  introduction of Japanese FC mCHP systems jump-start the EU market? 


There is an enormous gap between Japan and the EU in bringing fuel cell micro-CHP (FC mCHP) systems to the market. Japan is already nearing the end of its market introduction program for fuel cells with promising growth despite decreasing subsidies. The EU supply chain is behind and Japanese products are now being adapted for application in the EU with established parties.  But what will happen next?

The Japanese developments in FC mCHP

Japan has worked hard for more than twenty years to develop a hydrogen economy,  working on fuel cell market rollout, both in vehicles (for example Toyota FCV) and for residential use (using the Enefarm project). Goals are ambitious: 2 million FCV cars in 2025 and 5.4 million residential FC’s in 2030. The results of the past years are impressive, with significant improvements in efficiencies, weight, size and costs. More than 86.000 FC mCHP systems have been installed as of today. Subsidies are decreasing however and are expected to end in 2016.

Japanese suppliers are looking to expand their business in order to continue their cost-reducing programs. One route is to grow business in Japan by making the product attractive for appartment buildings and supplying off-grid possibilities. Another route is to target the EU markets. With current selling prices nearing the 10 k€, FC mCHP prices should already be attractive enough to start up in the EU niche markets.

Perspective from AISIN

AISIN is developing a SOFC mCHP unit and has partnered with Bosch in the EU. Aisin just launched a new model in Japan that can run on both natural gas and LPG and can also run during a blackout. Key advantage of the Aisin unit is a high electrical efficiency, resulting in more added value. Sales of FC mCHP have increased rapidly and the price has dropped 20% since 2012. The SOFC receive more subsidy than PEMFC but are more expensive to produce at this moment. From 2016 there will be zero subsidy for both SOFC and PEMFC. So there is a strong incentive to further develop the product. Aisin is targeting five challenges:

  1. Learning from the Ene-field project (grid connection, gas types, lifestyle)
  2. Socio-economic conditions (electricity and gas prices, policy, subsidies)
  3. Further improvement of efficiency
  4. Drastic cost reduction needed because subsidies/FIT will disappear
  5. Further downsizing, especially for Japanese market

Under the Ene-field project AISIN expects to install 70 FC units in 4 countries in Europe. Aisin is confident that a further 50% cost-down is feasible.

Japan is clearly ahead of the EU and has already changed the EU landscape for FC mCHP developers. Japanese products have the ability to change the European supply chain and pace of adoption. The next two years will be crucial to all parties to further increase speed and numbers. How fast can this go? Follow the Fuel Cell Expertise Network for news and updates.


Presentation Wolter Veenhoven, Hastex
Presentation Osamu Nishimura, AISIN


More information: info@fuelcellnetwork.eu

Sheets are available for participants of the webinar only.


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