RCVT - Hydrogen technologies in Slovenia a question of space and time


Winter 2018

The production of hydrogen from excess renewable energy (RE) is an important means of energy storage, offering the opportunity to balance energy supply during periods of low RE availability - or whenever production is insufficient to meet demand. This is why there is intense interest among experts in Slovenia in the challenges currently facing the development of fuel cell technologies and in the opportunities they represent. It is clearly important for the Slovenian economy to develop the necessary knowledge and manufacturing capabilities to exploit this opportunity, and long-term scenario analysis indicates a period of relative economic stability, suggesting that there is time (perhaps as much as ten years) to prepare for the development of these emerging technologies.

Greenpeace Slovenia is enthusiastic about fuel cell technologies, principally because of the cost of their development compared to other RE technologies and for the need to achieve security of energy supply during the transition to low-carbon energy. Slovenia possesses an important advantage according to the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Environment: as a small country, its infrastructure is less susceptible to rapid changes in the energy sector that may arise during the somewhat longer period of implementation of strategies. However, knowledge of hydrogen technologies among the general public appears to be low according to the Development Centre for Hydrogen Technologies (RCVT), a partner in the Hyacinth project, which used a Social Acceptance Management Toolbox (SAMT) to analyze opinions of different stakeholders regarding the social acceptability of hydrogen technologies.

Two low-carbon technologies for generating heat and electricity are receiving support towards commercialization as potential replacements for fossil-fuel based powertrains. These are: residential fuel cell micro-Combined Heat and Power (FCmCHP) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).

Ene.field (with RCVT as a consortium partner) has recently undertaken the largest European demonstration of FCmCHP, deploying up to 1,000 units in 11 key European member states over a period of 5 years. Outputs of the project include life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost (LCC) analyses, market analysis, commercialization strategy, and policy recommendations. In particular, it was learned that current national administrative barriers are preventing access to existing support schemes and funding, possibly through lack of political recognition of the benefits of FCmCHP technology. Policy development should therefore closely follow and complement the industry’s commitment to FCmCHP cost reduction and performance improvements.

INEA is RCVT’s industry partner and is a leading Slovenian company in the field of energy management and smart grid solutions, industrial automation, process control and manufacturing informatics. INEA has been involved in the Diamond project, a Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU); meanwhile our participation in the Grasshopper and MAMA MEA projects under the umbrella of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH 2JU) researches a cost effective modular Megawatt-sized Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell power plant.

The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, is RCTV’s Centre of Knowledge partner. The faculty has been involved in the field of hydrogen technologies since 2007, participating in several national projects (hydrogen production technologies in Slovenia; and Slovenia’s transition to a hydrogen economy) and international projects (including FluMaBack, HyTechCycling, SustainHuts). Of these, HyTechCycling, which will be completed in 2019, aims to deliver reference documentation and studies about existing and new recycling and dismantling technologies, and strategies applied to Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH) technologies. SustainHuts (Sustainable mountain huts in Europe) is Life+ demo project that aims to reduce CO2 emissions in the environments within in huts by implementing novel and original renewable energy-based solutions. They are also the leading Slovenian institution for Life Cycle Assessment methodology, a tool for assessing environmental impacts of technologies, products and processes.

For further information please contact:
Tadej Auer M.Sc., Director
Email: info@rcvt.si
Tel: +386 51 649314
Website: www.rcvt.si/eu