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Vitovalor 300-P Review / Technical overview

30/09/2018 14:29:54

Viessmann Vitovalor 300-P Electrical output at peak: 750Wh


After a calibration phase in which the Vitovalor 300-P will generate both above and below the specified output, it will settle down and create 750wh of electricity.  Electricity is generated whenever the cell is running, it uses the usually 'waste' heat from the fuel cell process to prime the internal boiler buffer tank. Once the return water from the buffer tank reaches to around 50oc-55oc the fuel cell will turn off to protect from overheating.  Whenever there is a hot water demand from the household (which will be all year round) or heating demand in the cooler months, the boiler will use the stored heat from the buffer. Meaning the fuel cell can continuously run and generate electricity without turning off for up to 22 hours a day.


Heat output of Panasonic made cell only: 1 kW


The thermal output from the chemical reaction inside the Panasonic fuel cell is 1kw.  All Fuel Cell technology whether hydrogen powered or otherwise creates heat and electricity. Some are heat led meaning the heat demand dictates how much electricity is generated, and some are power led.  The Viessmann Vitovalor 300-P has been expertly tailored to match the electrical demand of an average home and has a "waste heat" output of 1kw which is stored in the buffer to be used rather than lost to the atmosphere. Higher electrical production would give more heat to be used and result in inefficient 'cycling' of the fuel cell. This is a very well balanced compromise.


Heat output of gas boiler: 1 to 25.2kWh


The Viessmann Vitovalor 300-P has two major components. Not only is there a Hydrogen Fuel Cell (manufactured by Panasonic) but a Viessmann gas boiler similar to their very successful Vitodens 222-F.  The Vitovalor unit is engineered to utilise as much of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell heat as possible to maximise efficiency and power generation.  The gas boiler side of the system, other than holding the buffer for the Fuel Cell, is designed to operate under peak demand when the Cell has already run to capacity and give outputs up to 31kw.  This means that unlike many other renewable heat sources the Vitovalor has extremely good flexibility and performance, giving it the power to give hot water on demand. The boiler is fully modulating down to 1.6kw, this is far better than any other gas boiler available, this on its own is an impressive feat of engineering which greatly enhances efficiency.


Electrical efficiency fuel cell module: 37%,

Overall efficiency fuel cell module: up to 90% (Hi), Thermal efficiency of peak load boiler: up to 98% (Hs)



Energy efficiency class: A++


The Viessmann Vitovalor efficiency is extremely high, this not only gives a direct cost benefit to the home-owner with reduced bills but can help raise the EPC rating of any property.  The A++ rating is only given to renewable technologies so to compare it to other boilers is unfair but for comparison the highest rated gas boilers are A++


Fuel: Natural Gas only


Currently the Viessmann Vitovalor 300-P runs only on natural gas, clearly, the technology would be hugely beneficial in rural areas where the electricity is less reliable and the product would be perfect for off-grid or near off-grid living.  Hopefully, in future iterations of the unit we will see a propane model, the process is more difficult but Panasonic and Viessmann both have big budgets and invest heavily in research and development.


Other LPG fuel cells are available, however, contact us for more info.


Application range


This is another area in which the Vitovalor is a market leader, it is so incredibly versatile due to the modular build and modulation of the boiler.  The 300-P will fit in (space dependent of course) to any property from a 3-bed semi to a 6 bed, 6 shower family home, and all the way up to a sports club or small school.  As long as the heating and hot water demand are met and the cell can run often enough to provide maximum power output the Viessmann Vitovalor is a competitive option for most specifiers.


DHW heating


As mentioned earlier the heat output of the Vitovalor is anything from 1kw (cell only) to 31kw (gas boiler), this gives excellent flow rate capability from the internal hot water store.  The expected flow rates from the integral 46l tank are vastly higher than a traditional combination boiler and it also is designed to accept an external Viessmann cylinder to allow as good flow rates as any system available.


Operation and additional features


This is another area that the Vitovalor (and Viessmann 200 range of gas boilers in general) shines.  As has already been explained the Vitovalor has the capability for all of the heating, all of the hot water and depending on demand all of the electricity demand for most homes and even many commercial properties.  There really is no other all-in-one heating product that can match that.


Additionally, the 300-P has app control from smartphone and tablet, remote monitoring by Viessmann and weather compensation up to 3 zones to maximise comfort and fuel efficiency.


Warranty and after sales care


Viessmann are renowned for quality, their new range is the most reliable in the market and the Vitovalor seems to be no different.  Provided that the annual servicing is kept up (as with any boiler) the 10-year warranty covers all parts and labour that could be required on both the Viessmann boiler section and the Panasonic Fuel Cell section.

Viessmann Vitovalor 300-P Cost and incentives


The Viessmann Vitovalor 300-P Fuel Cell is no ordinary heating product and the pricing structure is not as straightforward as a traditional heating system. 


Whether you are looking at a combination boiler, system boiler with cylinder or even a storage combination high flow boiler you will know exactly the original cost and the fuel reduction compared to your existing system.  You might spend £3,000 on a combination boiler swap or £4,500 on a system with boiler, cylinder and bespoke controls.  That's then the end of it, it doesn't pay you back in any way other than potential cheaper fuel bills.


Renewable and carbon reducing products for heating and hot water qualify for various government incentives.  The ones that apply the Vitovalor are; the Feed in Tariff (FiT), PACE funding, and lowered VAT of 5%. Once the Vitovalor has been installed and registered, the incentives are guaranteed for ten years.


Because of the various incentives and the complexity of using Hydrogen as a fuel, the return on investment and break-even point compared to a standard combination boiler is not simple.  VitoEnergy has bespoke forecast tools and with Viessmann calculations we can give a very close estimate for the long-term financial benefits.


The Vitovalor installation starts from £12,500 for a very basic swap from a combination boiler with many installations costing up to £15,500.  With these installations we are looking at break-even points (compared to comparable alternatives) of 3-5 years and a full installation payback of 7-11 years.


The Vitovalor certainly isn't for everyone, it is large (although no more than a boiler and cylinder really) and relatively expensive in the short term.  The Vitovalor appeals to home-owners looking to invest in reliable, environmentally friendly and a long-term solution to heating and power.


The Viessmann Vitovalor will, in its life-span cost the home-owner less than nearly all alternatives available on the market today.