ElectroPS launches self-recharging hydrogen fuel cell system for telecoms

ElectroPS launches self-recharging hydrogen fuel cell system for telecoms

NEWS The varying composition of the methanerich gas from the landfill has been one of the main engineering challenges for the test site. This has led ...

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NEWS The varying composition of the methanerich gas from the landfill has been one of the main engineering challenges for the test site. This has led to the development of an efficient control system, the functionality of which has been fully validated. Landfill gas also contains a number of impurities, such as sulfur compounds, which need to be removed from the fuel before being fed to the fuel cell system. This has also been successfully achieved. Wärtsilä delivered the combined heat and power (CHP) fuel cell unit to the Vaasa Housing Fair site two years ago [FCB, March 2008]. The unit is located in Suvilahti, approximately 3 km (2 miles) east of downtown Vaasa. Operation of the New Energy site is supported by personnel from Wärtsilä’s Vaasa engine laboratory. The company’s fuel cell technology center is located at at Otaniemi in Espoo. Contact: Erkko Fontell, Director – Fuel Cells, Wärtsilä Product Centre Ecotech, Espoo, Finland. Tel: +358 10 709 5228, Email: [email protected], www.wartsila.com Wärtsilä, Fuel Cell Technology: http://ow.ly/1e9U8 Topsoe Fuel Cell A/S, Lyngby, Denmark. Tel: +45 4527 2000, www.topsoefuelcell.com

ElectroPS launches self-recharging hydrogen fuel cell system for telecoms


talian-based Electro Power Systems has launched what it says is the world’s first self-recharging hydrogen fuel cell system. The ElectroSelf system, which offers reliable backup power for mobile networks, was unveiled at the recent GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The ElectroSelf system is designed to deliver dependable backup power for mobile networks in any location, whether off-grid, in locations with unreliable power, or in extreme climates. The self-contained, self-recharging PEM fuel cell system consumes only water, and can be installed to back up renewable or mains power. ElectroSelf engages automatically whenever external power fails, producing only water as a byproduct. Whenever power is available, it automatically generates its own hydrogen by electrolysis of the demineralized byproduct water from the power generation phase. The system releases mobile network operators from much of the inconvenience of providing backup power through gensets and batteries. The


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initial capital expenditure is offset by a far lower total cost of ownership and extended product life expectancy compared with alternative solutions. It cuts operating expenses, minimizes maintenance, eliminates diesel refueling or battery replacement costs, and provides comprehensive remote power monitoring and control. The ElectroSelf system is designed to work with both renewable and grid power. It is particularly useful for off-grid installations, because it enables the storage of energy from intermittent renewable sources. For example, the fuel cell could store energy from solar during the day, and then support the station during hours of darkness. ‘ElectroSelf can completely release operators from the difficulties of purchasing and supplying backup fuel,’ says Adriano Marconetto, founder and CEO of Electro Power Systems. ‘It is the only fuel cell solution which generates 100% of its own hydrogen, so is the first to promise the freedom and flexibility that operators need.’ Combined with renewables as the main power source, the ElectroSelf technology can enable a base transceiver station to be located almost anywhere. The system can operate between –20°C and +45°C, and can be located indoors or outdoors, even in climatic extremes where such locations have always created maintenance challenges. Electro Power Systems unveiled its Electro3 prototype fuel cell system for mobile telecoms at last year’s GSMA Mobile World Congress [FCB, April 2009]. Electro Power Systems SpA, Torino, Italy. Tel: +39 011 225 8211, www.electrops.it

TMI trialing SOFC module for Third World deployment


hio-based Technology Management Inc is preparing for field testing with end-user applications of its 1 kW solid oxide fuel cell system. The modular technology can run on a variety of fuels, and TMI is ultimately targeting distributed energy applications in developing nations. The TMI 1 kW system is small and light enough to be handled by one person. The ‘plug-and-play’ modular SOFC systems can be configured in multiples when more power or redundancy is required. The company’s CEO, Benson P. Lee, told the Examiner.com in Denver, Colorado that he sees deployment in developing countries as a natural application of SOFC systems, which can run on indigenous fuel. Lee says TMI has engineered its fuel cells to run on a wide range of locally available fuels,

including methane, syngas, propane, ethanol, digester biogas, JP-8 kerosene, diesel, ammonia, vegetable oils, used cooking oil, corn oil, soybean oil, biodiesel, and jatropha oil [FCB, December 2007]. The flex-fuel feature allows farmers to grow or make their own fuel and use it in the TMI fuel cell to produce electricity at the point of use. ‘Any farmer can grow and press oils,’ says Lee. Another application would be running on biogas from an anaerobic digester or cesspool. TMI has been operating in ‘stealth’ mode since it was founded in 1990, and has reportedly gone through $30 million so far. The company is looking for additional funding in portions of at least $250 000, although it is keen to avoid the venture capital route, according to the report. Lee points out that a small fuel cell is just as efficient as a very large one. So a 1 kW module makes sense, and has an advantage for providing power village by village, without the need to build a grid to service Third World areas presently without power. The TMI technology would also be ideal for disaster relief. Technology Management Inc, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Tel: +1 216 541 1000, www.tmifuelcellsystems.com

AFC Energy reaches first coal gasification milestone


K-based alkaline fuel cell developer AFC Energy has reached the first milestone under its agreement with Linc Energy Ltd and B9 Coal Ltd. Australia’s leader in clean coal technology, Linc Energy intends to integrate the AFC fuel cell system for use in its global underground coal gasification (UCG) projects. AFC Energy says that cheap and easy-toproduce synthetic hydrogen from UCG will make an ideal feed source for its alkaline fuel cell systems. Linc Energy will utilize a simple membrane gas separation process on the UCG gases, to ensure a satisfactory hydrogen-rich mix is available for feed-in to the fuel cell. In the two months since signing the agreement [FCB, January 2010], AFC Energy has already configured and assembled an Alpha fuel cell system. This is now ready for shipping to the first demonstration site, an operating UCG plant in Chinchilla, Australia. This will trigger the first payment from Linc Energy. On commissioning and successful trials of the Alpha unit, it is intended to install multiple modules at Chinchilla, to form a larger, 50 kW fuel cell system. This is expected to lead to multiple installations of AFC Energy’s 50 kW system for full-scale commercialization.

March 2010