Danish Fuel Cell System Makes Commercial Breakthrough

State of Green
By State of Green / Image: SerEnergy, August 08, 2017

Production of methanol-powered fuel cells expands considerably in the Danish city of Aalborg.

For the last three years, the Danish fuel cell company SerEnergy, in conjunction with Aalborg University, has been working on developing an alternative fuel for the telecommunications industry.

The project has borne fruit, with SerEnergy having already installed fuel cell systems in six countries throughout the world.

Guarantees 100% running time
The project has resulted in a new fuel cell solution, H3 Outdoor Cabinet, which has been developed as a total solution where fuel cells, battery packs, fuel tank and the control systems are combined in the one cabinet.

The fuel cell system will produce energy to power mobile masts and antennae used in the telecommunications industry and help secure the energy supply, regardless of whether the mast is situated on a mountain in Norway or on the roof of a house in Manila.

– Related news: Project Will Develop Hybrid Fuel Cell Solutions

Chief Operating Officer from SerEnergy Mads Friis Jensen explains:

– In the telecommunications industry it is important to have 100% running time, so even in places with a secure energy grid such as Denmark, there is a need for a backup generator. In many sites in Norway and Finland, the masts are located on the top of a mountain, where there is no fixed energy supply and where there is a need for a primary energy source. Thus, the advantages of using a methanol fuel cell system compared to a diesel generator are great, given that diesel generators are noisy, vibrats, pollute and require considerable maintenance.

Tested under extreme weather conditions
SerEnergys fuel cell systems have been installed and tested by customers in diverse climates; from permanent minus degrees in Finland and Norway to tropical locales in India and the Philippines.

In conjunction with the project, there are currently plants installed in six different countries throughout the world and integrated into a number of telecommunication providers’ pre-existing energy systems.

Mads Friis Jakobsen expands:

-We have plants in the Philippines, Norway, India, South Africa, Korea and Finland. In Norway and Finland, the plants function as the primary energy source in a hybrid system med solar power cells, independent of the grid. In the Philippines, India, South Africa and China, the fuel cells function as a back up to the grid. Some of the plants are in areas where there is an unstable energy supply, meaning that the fuel cells produce energy for several hours each day, whereas in other places, they (the fuel cells) are only in use in emergency type situations, such as when earth quakes or typhoons occur.

Mads Friis adds that there are fuel cell plants erected in many more countries than the six ones mentioned, but that they are independent of the development project.

Maintain the positive momentum
Whilst SerEnergy has been developing the fuel cells, they have also expanded production in order to keep pace with the large commercial demand for the cells. The company is now one of the world’s largest companies in terms of production capacity of methanol fuel cells, with an annual production capacity of up to 25MW (5,000 units).

In addition, SerEnergy has also opened service and sales offices in China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines in order to have a local presence and be able to service the technology roll-out.

In order for SerEnergy to be able to continue its positive growth, create more exports and green jobs, the technological innovation needs to continue. Mads Friis explains: 

-We have now gained a foothold in the market, but there is still plenty of hard work to do. In order to be able to apply the product across different markets, it’s important that we continue our technological development in a targeted way.

– Related news: Installation of Battery for Storing Surplus Energy at Nordhavn

Support from EUDP
The Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP) has supported the development of the fuel cells with approximately 10 million Danish crowns (1.3 million EUR).  The EUDP’s purpose is to provide subsidies to the development of new energy technology that creates growth and employment, increase the security of supply and contribute to reaching Denmark’s goal of becoming independent of fossil fuels by 2050.

-EUDP support in the development of the H3 Outdoor Cabinet has been vitally important. It has allowed us to realise the project faster and to a greater extent that we could have done alone. We are very satisfied with the commercial success the product has received and given the demand we’re experiencing, there’s obviously been a need for a good green solution which we can now offer, states Mads Friis.

Commenting on EUDP’s role, Thea Larsen, chairperson for the EUDP board and CEO of the Danish Gas Technology Centre, says:

-There has been a particularly good match in the project between the growing global demand for green and locally produced energy and the innovative competencies SerEnergy possesses. It is precisely these types of winning combinations of specific competencies found in the Danish energy industry and market demand that EUDP aims to cultivate. In addition, we want to activate valuable cooperation between university, knowledge centres and industry.

As co-partner on the project, the Department of Energy technology at Aalborg University has been closely involved in the project, both in the developmental phase, in conducting climatic tests and afterwards in validating the project’s results.

Source: Energy Supply DK

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