GenCell fuel cell technology is being used for San Diego Gas & Electric substation backup power in California. Pic: GenCell Israel.
By Jason Deign
GenCell, an Israeli fuel-cell maker, yesterday trumpeted a major win as part of an under-the-radar strategy to get utilities relying more on hydrogen.
The company said San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the Californian utility, would be installing GenCell G5rx fuel cells for substation backup power.
Bloomberg reported the deal would cover an initial three substations, with 27 more to follow within three years. SDG&E is keen to use fuel cells as a way of extending the backup power capacity at substations.
Backup power is a technical requirement at all utility substations. It is used to keep high-voltage circuit breakers open whenever there is a loss of power on the grid.
Most substations are equipped with lead-acid battery arrays that can supply backup power for up to eight hours. Beyond this, the utility usually has to switch to an alternative power source, such as a diesel genset. Read more →
The energy storage investment opportunities offered at KIC InnoEnergy Business Booster Barcelona included Atawey’s hydrogen fuel cell system, developed with McPhy Energy. Photo credit: Atawey
What companies would you put your money in if you were a clean-tech angel investor looking to back an energy storage start-up? With plenty of young businesses out there crying for cash, it is not like you would be stuck for choice.
But, as Energy Storage Report found out last week at the KICInnoEnergyBusiness Booster in Barcelona, selecting a winner is not that easy… because there are so many good ideas to choose from.
The Business Booster was a two-day event where start-ups from a range of energy-related fields set out to woo an audience including nine angel investors and three venture capital firms. Five electricity storage hopefuls took the stage during the event.
Enerstone, of France, opened the storage track with a pitch for an ingenious battery management system that extends lifetimes and cycle rates by adjusting the draw on each cell to lessen the impact of weaker cells. Read more →
One of many Areva energy storage systems and technologies, the Greenergy Box consists of an electrolyser and a fuel cell. It stores hydrogen and oxygen generated by water electrolysis, allowing grid stabilisation. Photo credit: Areva
Areva is poised to announce its first major energy storage deal in Germany, according to Rémi Coulon, chief commercial officer at the company’s Renewables division. “We are about to announce our first client in Germany after having clients in France,” he told Energy Storage Report. “Germany is of course a key market for storage, it is where we see the most need. We are fine-tuning the press release.” Read more →
Joe Pratt studies hydrogen fuel cell energy storage in ports at the Port of Oakland, California. Photo credit: Sandia National Laboratories
A hidden challenge for renewable energy, in terms of carbon reductions at least, is making sure your cure is not more damaging than your disease. Many types of renewable power plants, for example, contain large amounts of concrete and cement, the production of which involves significant greenhouse gas emissions.
The emissions involved in construction, from concrete or other sources, seem rarely to be included in calculations of the environmental benefit arising from renewable energy. Yet it is not inconceivable that a wasteful enough construction process might produce more carbon emissions than a project could save over its operating lifespan. Read more →
The US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) and GM are jointly testing fuel cells. Photo credit: General Motors
Last week we took a look at fuel-cell vehicles and concluded that, although they represent an exciting future prospect, they are unlikely to make a big impact any time soon. When we turn to non-vehicle fuel cell energy storage, the signs are much more promising, as we’ll see in this concluding part of our analysis. Read more →