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Ballard fuel cells provide Bahamas telecom backup power during Hurricane Sandy

Fuel cell systems supplied by Canadian-based Ballard Power Systems provided critical electric power to the Bahamas mobile telephone network when Hurricane Sandy downed power lines and cut off grid power.

The 17 ElectraGen™-ME fuel cell systems installed in the local telecom network, began operating automatically as grid power was lost when the storm hit on 25 October. During the three days that Hurricane Sandy passed over the Bahamas, each of the 5 kW systems operated flawlessly to maintain consistent power.

‘In times of emergency, backup systems have to be reliable,’ says Dr Christopher Guzy, Chief Technology Officer at Ballard Power Systems. ‘We are certainly pleased that our ElectraGen fuel cell systems kept the communications network up and running for people in the Bahamas when they most needed it.’

As a group, the 17 systems provided the equivalent of one month of backup power over a concentrated seven-day period during and after the storm, producing more than 1200 kWh of electric power.

In comparison to conventional backup power technologies, such as lead-acid batteries and diesel generators, ElectraGen fuel cell systems ensure high-reliability, low-maintenance service continuity over extended periods, as well as significant environmental benefits.

The ElectraGen™-ME system includes a fuel reformer that converts HydroPlus™, a methanol-water liquid fuel mixture, into hydrogen gas that is used as a fuel feedstock for the fuel cell system. The only outputs from the fuel cell system are electrical power, heat, and water.

 

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