IEA AFC: Technology Collaboration Programme on Advanced Fuel Cells (2014-2019)

In the AFC TCP, both technology-oriented R&D activities (polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, solid oxide fuel cells, electrolysers) as well as analysis to implement fuel cells in commercial applications (stationary and mobile applications) are carried-out. System investigations and modelling complement the activities of this TCP.

Short Description

Since 1990, the International Energy Agency (IEA) created a research focus on fuel cell systems with the establishment of the Implementing Agreement on Advanced Fuel Cells (IA AFC) - now Technology Collaboration Programme (AFC TCP). Austria joined this TCP in 2004.

National and international R&D activities, institutions, manufacturers and utilities have been pushing the development of fuel cells in recent years. In 2021, installed fuel cell capacity worldwide has increased significantly to around 2,300 MW (from 1,400 MW in 2020) and the number of units world-wide delivered increased to around 90,000.

It should be noted that the momentum of developments in recent years has been driven very strongly by the Asian region. Prior to this, the North American countries USA and Canada in particular were in the foreground in terms of innovation dynamics and market implementation. Europe has been able to catch up in recent years through several funding programs (such as the 'Clean Hydrogen Partnership'). The IEA AFC TCP takes this into account. The most important countries (incl. one sponsor) from the three regions North America (USA, Canada), Asia (China, Korea, Japan) and Europe (Germany, France, Italy) participate in the AFC TCP.

The main goal of the international collaboration was and is the development of a production-ready high-efficient fuel cell for low-emission propulsion systems or stationary energy systems. International progress in this field is gradually becoming visible: promising projects are currently underway in various regions of the world.

While stationary applications were in the foreground for a long time in the past (combined heat and power plants, UPS or emergency power supply systems), a strong trend towards hydrogen-based mobile applications (buses, trucks, cars) has been observed in recent years. Portable systems were considered to have a great application potential in the mid (20)00s, which, however, could not be realized in the last two decades - apart from niche applications.

The activities of the IEA AFC TCP are as follows:

  • Conducting and monitoring R&D activities (including analysis of cells, stacks and system costs).
  • System and market analyses (including technological, economic and environmental aspects) based on international fuel cell programs
  • Analysis of regulatory barriers, creation of a level playing field
  • Increased dissemination activities (including newsletters, annual reports, workshops, specific reports on current topics, etc.).

The program is structured into three application-oriented annexes (annexes 33 to 35), two technology-oriented annexes (annexes 31 and 32), one annex in which system-analytical work is carried out (annex 36) and one annex which deals with the modelling work (annex 37). Due to technological resemblances Annex 30 deals with hydrogen electrolysis. The annexes are named as follows:

In this Technology Collaboration Programme various activities are pre-defined in a program and processed "task-shared". In form of periodic meetings, the results of the research activities are presented/shared and further research work is defined.


Annual Reports

  • Annual Report 2009
  • Annual Report 2010
  • Annual Report 2011
  • Annual Report 2012
  • Annual Report 2013
  • Annual Report 2014

Other publications

All available on:


Austria, Canada, Croatia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA and VTT (sponsor from Finland)

Contact Address

DI Dr. Günter R. Simader
Österreichische Energieagentur - Austrian Energy Agency
Mariahilferstraße 136, A-1150 Wien
Telefon: 43-1-5861524-24