Standby power, in the form of diesel generators, is used heavily on construction sites to provide supplemental power, emergency power or grid-independent generators for critical infrastructure and off-grid applications. The autonomous and stand-alone power source provides local power where transmission and distribution from a grid source is inaccessible.
Diesel generators are widely relied upon primary and standby power sources on construction sites where grid power is unreliable, temporarily out of service or non-existent on the site. This power source is also very polluting with extremely high carbon monoxide outputs, particulates, nitrogen oxides and high noise levels.
To minimise the risk to site workers’ health, emissions-free solutions can be implemented to create a safe working environment without compromising on performance, equipment quality, efficiency and power output.
Hydrogen powered fuel cell modules provide an eco-friendly alternative to diesel generators. Commercially available solutions for the construction sector already include welfare cabin power, lighting towers and standby power. With new options under development for compressors, welder generators and mobile access equipment which can be adopted across the construction industry.
Benefits to the Construction Industry
- Emissions-free power – Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction, producing no harmful emissions at point of use.
- Near silent operation – With virtually no moving components, the fuel cell itself is far quieter than a diesel generator making it especially suitable and far safer in working environments.
- Robust reliability – Wide operating temperature range of -10°C to +40, with altitude of 0m to 4000m above mean sea level, and 10% to 90% humidity.
- Improved efficiency – Hydrogen fuel cells are up to 60% energy efficient in comparison to the typical internal combustion engine which is around 25%.
- Lower operational costs – Fuel cells eliminate the need to charge, change and manage batteries, resulting in reduced labour, space and downtime. They operate for a greater duration than lead-acid batteries and refuelling can be done within minutes.
- Ease of integration – Power demands of construction equipment and vehicles can be met without the need for major changes to the way operators use equipment compared to the conventional diesel-powered plant.
- Scalable, modular power – Using scalable, modular products comes with a variety of advantages: greater reliability and easier serviceability.
Challenges of the Construction Industry
- Downtime – Compared to batteries, hydrogen fuel cells offer significantly improved runtime for construction equipment and vehicles. Refuelling can be accomplished in a matter of minutes as opposed to battery charging which typically requires several hours.
- Operational disruption – Hydrogen fuel cells are used in a similar manner to diesel solutions, minimising disruption to operations when making the switch. By having this plug-and-play solution, operators can easily transition to zero-emissions power.
- Emissions – HSE England have strict guidelines regarding noise levels and carbon monoxide on construction sites. As emissions present a significant risk to site workers, companies must switch to quieter and cleaner sources of power. Our fuel cells generate electricity in a combustion-free process producing minimal noise, zero carbon and nitrogen oxides, and zero harmful particulates.
Our IE-LIFT range of fuel cell modules solve issues present within the construction industry including noise and particulate pollution. With quiet operation and emissions of only heat and water vapour, not only can construction sites become safer for workers and nearby surroundings, they become much greener with fuel cells.