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News Article | May 2, 2017

Lyndon Rive, president for global sales and service at Tesla's energy division, recently said that it makes "perfect sense to convert every island out there right now to solar and storage." Indeed, that is exactly what Tesla intends to do. Island microgrids currently represent 36 percent of Tesla's total power storage capacity deployed to date, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Since November 2016, the company has deployed first or second generation versions of its grid-scale Powerpacks on five islands, researchers found. Four of the islands are in the Pacific: Ta’u in American Samoa, Monolo island in Fiji, and Kauai and Honolulu islands in Hawaii. The fifth project was on an island in North Carolina, where Tesla’s first generation Powerpacks were deployed in a solar-plus-storage microgrid to support the island’s 3-megawatt diesel generator. BNEF’s Energy Storage Project Database tracked a total of 157 megawatt-hours of energy storage capacity installed by Tesla in 2016 and 17 megawatt-hours installed in the first qurater of 2017, for a total of 174 megawatt-hours deployed in recent months. "The recent projects suggest that megawatt-sized island microgrids represent an important component of the company’s grid-scale storage strategy," the report states. However, "there is little to suggest that Tesla is seeking to become a full-service microgrid operators in underserved regions," the authors added. "Most of the islands where it has deployed its technology to date are well developed and served by local utilities." Tesla does not appear to be installing distribution grid technology or managing retail electricity operations, both of which are crucial to the successful deployment microgrids in frontier markets (as we've covered). Tesla is hardly the only company targeting the island microgrid market. Energy storage players Fluidic Energy and Electro Power Systems also deployed new microgrid projects in the first quarter of 2017, according to BNEF. In addition, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) recently committed $44.5 million for four projects in the Pacific and Africa, including 30 megawatts of new capacity for islands announced in January. BNEF tracked 48 megawatts of new generation assets commissioned or announced in Q1 of this year in the the Pacific and Indian oceans regions alone. Back on the mainland, technology giants have figured prominently on the microgrid map, including Schneider Electric and Engie, which signed an agreement last month to improve energy access in off-grid areas of Southeast Asia. Engie also signed an agreement with Electric Vine Industries to jointly develop, finance, build and operate solar-powered microgrids for 3,000 villages in Papua, Indonesia. The project is expected to reach 2.5 million people for a total investment of $240 million over the next five years. Internet tech giants are also getting in on the action. Last month, Facebook and Microsoft joined with investment firm Allotrope Partners to launch the "Microgrid Investment Accelerator," which will mobilize roughly $50 million between 2018 and 2020 to expand energy access in parts of India, Indonesia and East Africa -- with an estimated addressable market of 212 million people. In a study released along with the accelerator announcement, Allotrope found that market players in the three selected geographies are on track to develop 7 megawatts of microgrids -- serving approximately 300 villages, and 63,000 homes and community organizations -- within 12-18 months. Assuming half of that pipeline actually gets commissioned, the market would need $20 million to develop the projects this year. By 2020, that financing requirement could climb to more than $100 million. For Facebook, which is providing seed financing for the investment accelerator, deploying microgrids in frontier markets is about supporting energy efficient systems and expanding connectivity around the globe. "Ultimately, we anticipate these types of partnerships will assist in broadening access to our connectivity efforts," a spokesperson told GTM. For a number of reasons -- from technology cost declines, to new market entrants, to policy shifts -- BNEF notes "2017 is shaping up as an important year of groundwork-laying for microgrids in remote or unelectrified regions of the world."

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: FCH2-RIA | Phase: FCH-02.3-2014 | Award Amount: 2.36M | Year: 2015

HEALTH-CODE aims at implementing an advanced monitoring and diagnostic tool for -CHP and backup PEM fuel cell systems equipped with different stacks. Such a tool is able to determine the FC current status (condition monitoring) to support stack failures detection and to infer on the residual useful lifetime. Five failure modes will be detected: i) change in fuel composition; ii) air starvation; iii) fuel starvation; iv) sulphur poisoning; v) flooding and de-hydration. The main project objectives are: i) the enhancement of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) based diagnosis; ii) the development of a monitoring and diagnostic tool for state-of-health assessment, fault detection and isolation as well as degradation level analysis for lifetime extrapolation; iii) the reduction of experimental campaign time and costs. Moreover, the improvement of power electronics for FC is also considered. These targets will be achieved through the implementation of several methodologies and techniques, well suited for industrial application. Several algorithms will be developed relying on on-board EIS measurements of the fuel cell system impedance. Moreover, low-cost diagnostic concepts are also proposed for a straightforward implementation on FCS controllers. The project exploits the outcomes of the previous FCH 1 JU funded project D-CODE, during which a proof of-concept validated in laboratory (TRL3-4) was developed. HEALTH-CODE will increase the TRL up to level 5. The exploitation of the project outcomes will lead to low-cost and reliable monitoring and diagnostic approaches and related applications (e.g. power electronics). These results will have an impact on stationary FCS with a direct increase in electrical efficiency, availability and durability, leading to a reduction in maintenance and warranty costs, thus increasing the customers satisfaction. Therefore, HEALTH-CODE contributes to the enhancement of FC competitiveness towards a wider market deployment.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-FCH | Phase: SP1-JTI-FCH.2011.3.3 | Award Amount: 4.00M | Year: 2012

The FluMaBack (Fluid Management component improvement for Back up fuel cell systems) project aims at improving the performance, life time and cost of balance of plant (BOP) components of back up fuel cell systems specifically developed to face back-out periods of around 1,000h/year for specific markets: USA, Africa and North Europe where hard operative conditions are present (high and low temperatures). The improvement of system components addressed in this project will benefit both back-up and CHP applications. The project focuses on new design and improvement of BOP components for utilization in PEMFC based stationary power applications, aimed at: - improving BOP components performance, in terms of reliability; - improving the lifetime of BOP component both at component and at a system level; - reducing cost in a mass production perspective; - simplifying the manufacturing/assembly process of the entire fuel cell system. While in recent years the performance and durability of the PEMFC have increased and the cost has decreased at the same time, performance, durability and costs of BOP components have basically stayed the same. So, for improvements on performance, durability and cost of the fuel cell system, R&D dedicated on BOP components have become essential. The project is focussed on the most critical BOP components with the largest potential for performance improvement and cost reductions: - Air and fluid flow equipments, including subcomponents and more specifically blower and recirculation pumps - Humidifier - Heat exchanger Specific targets in terms of efficiency, lifetime and cost have been pointed out for each BOP component to be developed. The project will have a duration of 3 years to guarantee the achievement of all project targets. The consortium consists of large and small entities which are R&D centres, BoP components developers and manufacturers, fuel cells stack and fuel cell system developers and manufacturers. Partners are located throughout the EU: Italy, Spain, The Netherland and Slovenia.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-FCH | Phase: SP1-JTI-FCH.2009.4.2 | Award Amount: 5.29M | Year: 2010

A total of 19 market-ready fuel cell systems from 2 suppliers (ElectroPS, FutureE) will be installed as UPS/ backup power sources in selected sites across the EU. Real-world customers from the telecommunications and hotel industry will utilize these fuel cell-based systems, with power levels in the 1-10kW range, in their sites. These units will demonstrate a level of technical performance (start-up time, reliability, durability, number of cycles) that qualifies them for market entry, thereby accelerating the commercialisation of this technology in Europe and elsewhere. The demonstration project will involve the benchmarking of units from both fuel cell suppliers according to a test protocol to be developed within the project. It will employ this test protocol to conduct extensive tests in field trials in sites selected by final users in Italy, Switzerland and Turkey. The performance will be logged and analysed to draw conclusions regarding commercial viability and degree to which they meet customer requirements, as well as suggesting areas for improvement. A lifecycle cost analysis using data from the project will be carried out to determine economic value proposition over incumbent technologies such as batteries or diesel generators. The system producers use the results to obtain valuable first hand feedback from customers, optimise their systems as needed, and demonstrate commercial viability. On the other hand, final users from the telecommunications and hotel industry will experience first-hand the advantages of fuel cells for their applications under real world conditions. The optimisation potential is expected from the production process itself, from the installation of a significant amount of fuel cell systems and from the testing. The project will also develop a certification procedure valid in the EU27 under the lead of TV Sd.

Electro Power Systems S.A. (“EPS”), a technology pioneer in energy-storage systems and microgrids listed on the French-regulated market Euronext Paris (Paris:EPS) (EPS:FP), announces the starting of the commissioning of a new energy storage system microgrid-connected in Sardinia, Italy. EPS realized in partnership with FZSoNick (FIAMM) for ENAS, the entity managing the entire water supply of the region, a hybrid energy storage system connected to the Ottana Experimental Solar Farm, consisting of a concentrated solar power (CSP) farm integrated with thermal storage with a capacity of 14 MWh and a concentrated photovoltaic plant (CPV). The microgrid, developed in collaboration with the University of Cagliari and Sardegna Ricerche, has a total installed capacity of 1.2 MW hybridized with 0.6 MWp of CPV, 0.6 MWp of CSP and 0.5 MWh of EPS storage system which is aimed at the stabilization of the intermittent renewable sources. The system realized by EPS couples renewables and energy storage, enabling the microgrid to reduce emissions by more than 14 thousand tons of CO per year. The plant will be run by ENAS and will significantly contribute to the reduction of its energy annual demand. “Such installation represents the flexibility of the EPS technology in any application, also with the most innovative and technologically challenging microgrids” commented Carlalberto Guglielminotti, Chief Executive Officer of EPS “as this microgrid demonstrates how Italian islands can represent a real open-air laboratory for a new energy model, distributed, sustainable and competitive”. The commissioning of the microgrid will be completed in April 2017. EPS operates in the sustainable energy sector, specializing in hybrid-storage solutions and microgrids that enable intermittent renewable sources to be transformed into a stable power source. Listed on the French-regulated market Euronext, EPS is part of the CAC® Mid & Small and the CAC® All-Tradable indices and has registered offices in Paris and research, development, and manufacturing in Italy. Thanks to technology covered by 125 patents and applications combined with more than 10 years of R&D, EPS has developed hybrid energy storage solutions to stabilize electrical grids heavily penetrated by renewable sources in developed countries and in emerging economies, to power off-grid areas at a lower cost than fossil fuels without the need for subsidy or incentive schemes. EPS has either installed or under commissioning in aggregate 36 large-scale projects, including off-grid hybrid systems powered by renewables and energy storage, totalizing that total more than over 35 MW of installed power and provide energy to more than 160,000 customers daily. In addition to more than 18 MW of grid-support systems, for a total capacity output of 47 MWh and 25 MW of systems in 21 countries worldwide, including Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

A method for producing electric power from hydrogen and hydrogen from electric power, comprising:

A system for producing electric power from hydrogen and hydrogen from electric power, comprising:

A fuel cell electric generator designed for back-up in the absence of network electricity supply. The generator comprises a fuel cell stack, means for supplying the stack with a first and a second reagent flow comprising, in turn, pressure reducing means, and a manifold body to communicate with the stack said first and second reagent flows and at least a flow of coolant fluid via a respective coolant loop. The manifold body comprises inside chambers for the mixing of said reagent flows with corresponding re-circulated product flows and a coolant fluid expansion chamber within which said pressure reducing means of said first and second reagent flows are positioned at least partially drowned by said coolant. Method for the start-up and shutdown of the generator, and a method for detecting the flooding of a fuel cell and a_method for detecting the presence of gas leakages in the generator are also disclosed.

The invention relates to a stack (200) comprising a plurality of stacked fuel cells (100), fixed and fluidically connected to a first head (210), which comprises: a feeding inlet (301) for a fuel flow and a corresponding outlet (302); a feeding inlet (303) for a comburent flow and a corresponding outlet (306); a feeding inlet (302) and a corresponding outlet (305) for a flow of a cooling heat-transfer fluid thermally coupled with the fuel cells (100) in order to remove at least part of the reaction heat at the fuel cells (100) themselves; the first head (210) comprising a feeding inlet (307) and a corresponding outlet (308) for a flow may pass, said volume being thermally coupled with the cooling heat-transfer fluid flow, so that the cooling heat-transfer fluid delivers at least some of the heat removed from the fuel sells (100) to the working heat-transfer fluid.

Electro Power Systems | Date: 2011-03-15

The invention relates to an electric power generator comprising a plurality of fuel cells stacked in a stack and configured to supply an electric load, the generator comprising means for generating a gas fuel to be supplied to the stack, and means for removing at least part of a heat flow generated in the stack as a consequence of the consumption of said gas fuel; characterized in that it comprises heating means configured to maintain said means for generating gas fuel within a predetermined temperature range and comprising means for transferring at least part of said removed part of the heat flow generated in the stack from said removing means to said means for generating gas fuel.

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