Fuel cell – a renewable energy source

Diesel generators used to be widely deployed for powering battery systems; however, over time, the idea of using diesel generators as a primary or back-up power supply has become less favorable due to the challenges linked to their reliability, availability, high operational and maintenance (O&M) costs, and their significant environmental impacts. In the context of powering off-grid battery systems, key features such as the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of battery systems are critically important. Hence, methods using renewables coupled with sustainable energy storage solutions are now receiving much more attention.

A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity through an electrochemical reaction, not combustion. In a fuel cell, hydrogen and oxygen are combined to generate electricity, heat, and water. Fuel cells are used today in a range of applications, from providing power to homes and businesses, keeping critical facilities like hospitals, grocery stores, and data centers up and running, and moving a variety of vehicles and last but not least for critical –, backup –, auxiliary – and primary power.

Fuel cell systems are a clean, efficient, reliable, and low noise source of power. Fuel cells do not need to be periodically recharged like batteries, but instead continue to produce electricity as long as a fuel source is provided.

Unlike combustion-based power generation, stationary fuel cells provide virtually emission-free power. Fuel cells do not produce particulate pollutants or unburned hydrocarbons. They emit less carbon dioxide than other, less efficient technologies, and when using fuel generated from renewable sources such as biomass, fuel cells are completely carbon neutral.

Because of these environmental benefits, fuel cells are being adopted by federal facility managers in order to reach mandatory air pollution goals. Utilities and companies also working to meet state renewable energy standards and emission requirements are also increasingly turning to fuel cell technologies.

(Source: (www.fchea.org)

Why Fuel Cells?

Methanol fuel cells carry a number of unique benefits, compared to other energy sources such as batteries or internal combustion engines. From high efficiency to scalability. The main benefits of a methanol-based fuel system are:

Environmental: Unlike diesel generators, fuels cells do not produce combustion and therefore there are no NOx, SOx, or particulate emissions from the unit. So the fuel cells provide clean energy. Methanol can be extracted or produced in a number of ways. If it is produced from biomass resources or the biodegradable parts of waste (green methanol), it is CO2 neutral. Our fuel cell technology is designed for compatibility with other energy generation technologies, especially renewable technologies.

Low-costs: Compared to existing technologies and over the lifetime of the unit, cost savings can be obtained. This includes: maintenance, transport and disposal. In cost-per-unit-of-energy terms, methanol compares favorably with both gasoline and diesel.

Reliability: In many cases, fuel cells are able to offer higher reliability and MTBF (Mean Time between Failures) and there is no degradation of capacity over time. Also, fuel cell modules have very few moving parts which reduces the need for regular maintenance.

Fuels: The majority of systems operate on hydrogen (in this instance the only emission is water), which can be generated from renewable sources (electrolysis) or from reformed hydrocarbons (methanol, propane, ammonia and natural gas). Being a liquid fuel, methanol is easier to handle and store than hydrogen. Moreover, the distribution of methanol can take advantage of existing distribution systems.

Accessibility: Methanol is produced on a global scale and used in thousands of everyday products. Thus, methanol is readily available and easy to obtain no matter where in the world you’re located.

High Temperature Tolerance: Unlike batteries, fuel cell modules do not degrade at extreme temperatures and their range can be between –20 C up to +50 C.

Scalability & Integration: Fuel cell systems are provided as either standalone unit similar in size to a small refrigerator (for applications like base stations) or can be inserted in cabinets with variable capacity. Fuel cells are fit for outdoor as well as indoor applications.

Autonomy: Fuel cells are able to operate as long as there is available fuel, so storage onsite can be established according to runtime required.

Remote Monitoring: Fuel cell modules can be fully monitored from one central location alerting the operator as to when the system is in use and how long before refueling is required to ensure no downtime.

Space Requirements are low: Fuel cells running at high temperatures are easier to cool, which eliminates the need for spaceous cooling systems.

Small Footprints and Low Noise: Fuel cell solutions operate with low noise and vibration meeting regulations for low environmental impact.

Safety: Methanol is less prone to ignite than gasoline. Also, it burns slower, creates no black smoke and emits lower radiant energy, which makes it less likely that surrounding materials catch fire

Preventive of theft and vandalism: The H3-5000 fuel cell modules use a methanol-water mix to run the systems. This fuel is clean and produces highly efficient power. As a result, this is highly valuable for professional applications, but for thieves it has no value. The reason is that the methanol water mix fuel cannot be used for common appliances and vehicles. Zero common value = Zero Theft.

What is methanol?

Methanol (CH3OH) is a liquid chemical used in thousands of everyday products, including plastics, paints, cosmetics and fuels.  Methanol is also an energy resource used in the marine, automotive, and electricity sectors, and an emerging renewable energy resource.

Fuel cells use hydrogen as a fuel to produce clean and efficient electricity that can power stationary and mobile applications.

Methanol can be “reformed” on-site at a fueling station to generate hydrogen for fuel cell cars, or in stationary power units feeding fuel cells for primary or back-up power.

Since methanol can be produced from a wide range of conventional and renewable feedstocks, it is the most affordable, sustainable and easily handled hydrogen carrier fuel.

See also Renewable Methanol report; www.methanol.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/MethanolReport.pdf

(source: www.methanol.org/)

Clean power for stationary applications

Our solutions provide back-up power as well as temporary primary power or work in a hybrid system with other renewable sources such as solar and/or wind. Serving both current and future needs for power solutions, our methanol-fueled power system is a great match for the telecom industry. Other applications include residential, industrial and commercial where our systems provide an excellent alternative to diesel generators for back-up of services or powering equipment, where the use of grid power is challenging or not possible.

Critical power & backup

For critical backup power, methanol fuel systems from SerEnergy are a perfect match.

Remote Off-Grid Sites

Many companies are dealing with off-grid locations either permanent or temporary.

Deployable power

Reliable and green deployable power solutions are important, especially in a time where emissions, noise and co2  is on top of the agenda.

Auxiliary Power

Methanol fuel cell systems are suited for applications with continuous power or where supplemental power is needed.

Transitioning to clean power?

Our standardized product lines fit most application needs. For customized power output, our systems are fully scalable. Your case for clean, cost-optimized and efficient energy is our case, and we support it all the way.

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