Around 100 UK installers have so far been trained to install the Viessmann Vitovalor 300-P fuel cell. PHPI speaks to two installers about the course highlights.
Training for the new Vitovalor 300-P fuel cell is run from the Viessmann UK headquarters in Telford, where it is currently delivered by the manufacturer’s Technical Director, Christian Engelke. The full day course to fit the fuel cell boiler includes background information on hydrogen as an energy source and a history of micro-CHP technologies in the UK market, and progresses to cover specific technical, installation and servicing information.
One of the workshop’s goals is to demonstrate the ease of installation; that it’s as easy as or even easier than a normal gas boiler and DHW cylinder replacement. Myths surrounding micro-CHP installations, such as complex wiring, are swiftly removed, assures the company.
Paul Leedham – Matrix Energy Systems
Paul says it was natural for his company to explore the Vitovalor, as it was already an MCS-registered micro-CHP installation business, as well as a committed Viessmann customer. “We’ve been installing Viessmann products for years, as they cover the entire breadth of the market and have a solution for every project we take on,” he explains. “For us, Vitovalor is a far better solution than the BlueGEN ceramic fuel cell we were familiar with because it gives the customer useful heat as well as electricity. What we got from the training was an understanding of the specifics around the actual kit, the accessories and the requirements for installation.
“The course demonstrated how the product is a complete solution – there is a really good size cylinder, for example. We were surprised that servicing isn’t anything near as intense as we thought. The fuel cell goes through a regeneration phase every day where it shuts down for a couple of hours, which is designed to prolong the life of the fuel cell and avoid servicing costs seen with other systems. The fuel cell can be left in place until the end of its life. For our first installations, Viessmann will work with us to commission them,” concludes Paul.
Patrick Wheeler and Adam Chapman – Vitoenergy
Vitoenergy says it is a company with Vitovalor at its heart, on the way home from their training. “We attended one of the very first training sessions,” Patrick Wheeler explains. “We had done some consultation work for a micro-CHP manufacturer previously but that product didn’t come to market. We liked that Vitovalor was backed by a reputable company and it seemed more of a sure thing. We saw the potential among our London and South East customer base that would normally be in the market for a Vitodens 200-W premium boiler installation.”
Patrick continues: “One of the most valuable aspects of the training was the information Viessmann provided to help us help our customers get their heads around fuel cell technology. The course recognises the role of installers in selling the benefits to customers, particularly its financial viability and explaining why other micro-CHP products have fallen by the wayside.
“So far, we have installed eight Vitovalor systems and even a cascaded system, which we believe is one of only a couple in the world!”