IEA AFC Annex 33: Stationary Applications (Working period 2019 - 2022)

The future energy system will be strongly characterized by decentralized and renewable power generation. The use of fuel cells (FCs) can contribute to energy and environmental policy objectives. This project investigated whether a market transition from successful international demonstration plants to commercial plants is possible. The potential applications of fuel cells in the building sector and across energy communities and climate-neutral neighbourhoods were investigated.

Short Description

The focus of IEA AFC Annex 33 "Stationary Fuel Cell Applications" is the market transition from successful demonstration plants to commercial plants.


The objectives of the project include:

  • the conception of an Austrian variant of the successful Japanese "Ene-Farm" project with active involvement of the relevant Austrian stakeholders (Advisory Group)
  • the collaboration on the proposal: "Uptake of international standards in the deployment of stationary fuel cell systems in different countries"
  • writing the report "Impact of European Strategies and Legislation on the uptake of stationary fuel cell systems"

In the course of designing an Austrian "Ene-Farm" variant, techno-economic modelling and analyses were conducted to discuss the possibility of replicating the Japanese project in Austria under the currently prevailing conditions.

The analysis provides an overview of the current state of regulations, norms and standards with regard to micro/mini-FCs for stationary applications.

The purpose of the above report was to analyse whether and which legislation has been updated since the last publication in 2017, as well as to discuss whether the revision of the legal framework leads to a change in the opportunities and barriers for stationary FCs, what role they play in the relevant EU strategies, and whether the laws as currently drafted reflect the ambitions of the EU strategies.

The possibility of a conception of an "Ene-Farm Austria" variant and thus a replication does not exist from a technical, economic or ecological point of view due to completely different framework conditions in Austria.

However, it turns out that the use of stationary FC systems in larger applications has an improved economic efficiency and high self-consumption rates can be realized. This aspect could be used in other applications as well (e.g. electro mobility). It is therefore proposed that decentralized hydrogen solutions should be used in combination with stationary FCs in energy communities or climate-neutral neighbour-hoods. The energy needs of these districts can then be met entirely by renewable energy sources (without further energy imports). Furthermore, recognized energy and environmental contributions can be achieved.

Results of the analysis

The results of the analysis shows that the lack of a common legal framework is a barrier to FC systems. In particular, the non-specificity with respect to FC technologies, which are generally covered by the regulatory framework for gas appliances or conventional CHP plants, is a critical issue.

The report's analysis found that neither the hydrogen strategy nor the energy systems integration strategy invisions a specific future role for stationary FCs, and that FCs are only indirectly mentioned except in the "Labeling and Ecodesign Regulation". FC CHP systems are in the highest energy class (A+++) due to their high efficiency and could therefore gain market relevance in the future. However, hydrogen and stationary FCs play presently a minor role in the strategies and their potential is severely underexposed.

Project Images

Terms of use: The pictures listed underneath the header “Project Pictures” originate from the projects in the frame of the programmes City of Tomorrow, Building of Tomorrow and the IEA Research Cooperation. They may be used credited for non-commercial purposes under the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC).


Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy (Operating Agent), Japan, Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, USA

Contact Address

DI. Dr. Günter Simader and Patrick Vidovic MSc
Österreichische Energieagentur
Mariahilfer Straße 136, 1150 Wien
Tel.: 0043 1 586 1524 124