Fuel cell housing development Bedburg: Energy transition in the construction of detached houses

In Bedburg, a housing development consisting of detached houses is being constructed in which only the latest fuel cell devices are being used to supply electricity and heat. Thus, it is expected that, compared with conventional technologies, CO2 emissions will be reduced by at least five tonnes each year on the eight plots. And the whole thing is being supported by a well-thought-out funding framework.

Germany’s first fuel cell housing development is a joint venture from the town of Bedburg, the energy company RWE Power AG and the heating systems manufacturer Viessmann. Clients who commit to installing a fuel cell can buy land in an attractive residential area from RWE Power AG. The plan is for homes with new, climate-friendly fuel cell technology to be built there from 2017.

Numerous applications have been submitted. The aim of the project is to increase the acceptance of this technology, which is already being used efficiently and without any problems. The entire project is also one of the starter projects that are being coordinated in the Rhineland innovation region – “Innovationsregion Rheinisches Revier” or IRR – and are intended to bring about the structural change the region is striving for.

Engine for progress:

  • Reductions of approx. 5–15 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year
  • Well-thought-out funding framework
  • Small footprint, quiet operation
  • User-friendly and “smart” (remote) operation

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Photo: Raumplanung Aachen

The future fuel cell housing development will consist of eight residential units. Construction is expected to begin in 2017.

The fuel cell: efficient, compact, eco-friendly

Even during installation, a fuel cell (1 kilowatt thermal power, 750 kilowatts electric power) demonstrates its advantages. It is easy to install and, at only 0.65 square metres, hardly takes up any space in a detached house. It also works with almost no sound and can be easily operated via a smartphone or tablet. But this technology is especially impressive in terms of its underlying figures. In comparison with conventional models, the devices have a particularly high level of electrical efficiency – the houses in Bedburg will, therefore, not only cut their electricity costs, but also reduce CO2 emissions by at least 5 tonnes every year. Viessmann expects that, in optimal usage and when an optional storage unit is employed, CO2 emissions can be reduced by up to 50 per cent compared with conventional electricity and heat generation.

When you consider that, according to a study, about 70 per cent of the boilers in Germany are outdated and should be replaced, you can see the great potential of this technology in terms of climate protection.

Funding of up to €14,250

Appropriately, the project is also being supported by a well-thought-out funding framework. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is encouraging the use of fuel cells with an investment grant for which an energy consultation must be obtained and which is being financially supported by RWE Power AG. In addition, RWE Power AG is providing grants to clients. Viessmann is also assisting clients who choose Viessmann fuel cells, offering grants towards the equipment, transportation and initial operation. Overall, this amounts to a maximum funding contribution of €14,250. It pays off for the clients and the climate.

Photo: RWE Power AG

“The fuel cell housing development in Bedburg-Jahnstraße, which was jointly initiated by the town of Bedburg and ourselves, has already been labelled as a model project by the IRR innovation region. We are delighted that the project has now also been added to KlimaExpo.NRW’s showcase and that, as a partner in the region, we can make a further contribution towards long-term structural change."

Erik Schöddert, Head of Relocation and Land Management (GOJ) at RWE Power AG

Partners and sponsors

  • Stadt Bedburg
  • Innovationsregion rheinisches Revier (IRR)
  • RWE Power AG
  • Viessmann Werke GmbH & Co. KG
Counselling centers:
  • id-Hubrich, Düren