Fuel cells for off-grid

Hydrogen fuel cells for off-grid power generation and rural electrification in remote areas or hard to access islands.

Fuel cells for off-grid

Off-grid power generation is key to many companies that cannot rely on the grid to maintain operations in rural areas. Micro-grids are small networks of electricity users with a local source of supply that is usually attached to a centralised national grid, but can function independently. They tend to be used to power residential areas where access to the main grid is limited, or in commercial situations where uninterrupted power is essential.

Renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, are often affected by intermittency. When the sun is down and wind is off, there is no production of electricity. Though supplementary battery banks provide storage of surplus energy, they cannot fully compensate unregular power generation. Hence, micro-grids still rely heavily on diesel generators.

Despite fuel being widely available, the delivery logistics can be challenging, coupled by noise, greenhouse gas emissions and maintenance challenges. Fuel cells for off-grid, however, provide the means for zero-emission electrification. When working as a hybrid system with batteries and electrolysers, fuel cells for off-grid applications can be self-sufficient, and are an ideal alternative to diesel generators.

Benefits of fuel cells for off-grid

  • Emissions-free power – fuel cells for off-grid usage generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction, producing no harmful emissions at point of use. The only by-product of the process is water and heat.
  • Robust reliability – wide operating temperature range of -10°C to +40, with altitude of 0m to 4000m, and 10% to 90% humidity.
  • Improved efficiency – fuel cells for off-grid applications are up to 60% energy efficient, in comparison to the typical internal combustion engine, which is around 25%.
  • Scalable, modular power – using scalable, modular products comes with a variety of advantages: greater reliability and easier serviceability.
  • Lower lifecycle costs – fuel cells for off-grid power are higher in capital cost, but their low maintenance and operational cost are benefits that offset battery and battery-diesel generator systems.
  • Near silent operation – the cell itself is incredibly quiet, making fuel cells especially well-suited for use in close proximity to people.

Challenges with batteries that fuel cells for off-grid can improve

  • Storage efficiency – batteries may be efficient at storing energy, but unlike fuel cells, they require space for storage and charging (and stored surplus energy will diminish over time due to self-discharge phenomenon).
  • Downtime and grid dependence – electricity generated by fuel cells for off-grid can be used in power shortages during periods where renewables aren’t readily available (i.e., monsoon periods, sundown, etc.). Surplus energy stored in the form of hydrogen through on-site electrolysis does not degrade over time and can be converted to electricity through fuel cells when required.
  • Eliminating emissions – diesel generators produce dangerous emissions whilst running, from noise to carbon monoxide. With many telecoms sites sitting in rural areas, this can impact and, be detrimental to, the surrounding ecosystem.

Our fuel cells for off-grid

Our IE-POWER fuel cell modules provide zero-emission, reliable off-grid power to areas that are impacted by intermittent and unreliable grid services. With micro-grids relying heavily on diesel generators and the impacts of this on the surrounding environment regarding noise and particulate pollution, our fuel cells for off-grid applications can provide a more dependable solution and eliminate harmful emissions.

In collaboration with our partners, we are able to provide package solutions, enabling you to become less reliant on the grid.