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Electrolyser and fuel cell to power hybrid green energy solutions

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Energy Global,

GenCell Energy, a leading Israel-based manufacturer of fuel cell energy solutions, has announced that it successfully completed integration between the Enapter AEM electrolyser and the GenCell alkaline fuel cell. The project demonstrated the successful performance of the GenCell fuel cell and Enapter electrolyser and validated that the electrolyser successfully generates the amount and quality of hydrogen needed to operate the alkaline fuel cell in a hybrid or backup power solution, strengthening the value proposition of both products to successfully fill the power requirements of many use cases, both on and off-grid.

As the energy sector around the world increases the uptake of intermittent solar and wind power and raises its decarbonisation goals, there is growing feasibility, justification, and demand for hybrid power and green microgrid systems. Hybrid power systems today, whether operating entirely or partially on-grid or off-grid, increasingly recognise the value of incorporating electrolysers, fuel cells, and hydrogen storage for long-duration power to offset intermittent power generation sources, charge short-lived batteries and achieve decarbonisation goals. Integrating the Enapter AEM electrolyser together with the GenCell alkaline fuel cell in a hybrid or microgrid power system prevents curtailment of surplus intermittent energy and instead leverages the electrolyser to convert that energy to industrial-grade hydrogen.

This industrial-grade hydrogen can be economically stored and used on-demand as fuel to run the GenCell alkaline fuel cell when intermittent, grid or battery power is not available, both to charge the batteries and to provide electricity for as long as needed, until the other power sources return to production. The ability of each Enapter electrolyser to feed the alkaline fuel cell without costly filtration or purification simplifies and eliminates additional costs from the power system. Producing hydrogen-on-demand with an electrolyser next to the fuel cell both eliminates the often-significant logistical operations and operating expenses of the hydrogen supply chain and makes fuel cells relevant for long-duration back-up in locations where hydrogen is not readily available. In many poor grid systems or hybrid environments where hydrogen is either not available or very costly to supply, today the integrated Enapter-GenCell solution can deliver crucial and emission-free back-up power at a cost that is equivalent to or lower than the cost of diesel power. Both Enapter and GenCell offer TCO calculations demonstrating already today that the cost of the joint solution is equivalent to or less than the cost of back-up power from diesel generators, wherein the costs of the equipment of both manufacturers are expected to drop further as technologies mature and lifetimes extend.

As we broach the future of energy networks following the impact of Coronavirus, there are many factors that add impetus for change. With uncertainty and decline in prices of fossil fuels and an increased ratio of intermittent renewables in the energy mix both to combat climate change and to stimulate new jobs, utilities and businesses are looking for new and better solutions to ensure power resilience to counter this greater volatility. Many of them are considering local microgrids, which according to the International Energy Association (IEA) will deliver 30% of our future electricity. More and more of these microgrids are incorporating hydrogen and fuel cells to enable long-duration energy storage and generation. Producing more ‘green’ hydrogen when renewable energy is plentiful by means of electrolysis, storing the hydrogen and converting it to energy-on-demand by means of the fuel cell to complement short-duration batteries and to resolve seasonal fluctuations makes microgrids resilient and energy and fossil fuel-independent.

“We are pleased and not surprised to learn the results of GenCell’s validation of the satisfactory performance of our electrolysers,” remarks Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, CEO, Enapter. “While our versatile equipment can easily be paired with most any fuel cell on the market, as Enapter, we look to minimise the costs and maximise the reliability of our solutions for our customers. Bottom line, GenCell’s unique capacity to run on 99.9% purity hydrogen will save customers more money.”

Comments Rami Reshef, CEO, GenCell, “The advent of the hybrid power solution and green microgrid is changing the future of our energy economy for the better. Production of green hydrogen at scale will significantly increase the demand for renewable energy, creating jobs and accelerating decarbonisation. Utilities are achieving faster and more reliable grid modernisation in weather-sensitive regions by replacing traditional pole and line systems with renewable microgrids. Now that in addition to being reliable, weather-resistant and emission-free, hybrid power solutions incorporating Enapter AEM electrolysers and GenCell alkaline fuel cells are becoming more economic than diesel, it is even more relevant to Say No to Diesel.”



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The Summer issue of Energy Global provides in-depth technical articles covering technological advancements and future outlooks in the renewables sector, from companies including Sulzer, Power Ledger, JinkoSolar, Trelleborg Applied Technologies, Clir Renewables, and many more. The issue covers a spectrum of clean energies, from wind to hydrogen to solar to biofuels.

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