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The first major snowstorm of 2021 brought power outages in New Jersey, a state of emergency in 44 counties in New York state and the largest recorded snowfall at Chicago O’Hare Airport since 2015. Major airlines canceled service to most NYC airports and Pennsylvania also expected heavy snowstorms according to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. The White House staff made contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to monitor the storm.
Unsurprisingly, the economic impact of severe weather events in conjunction with power outages is substantial. A report by FEMA that assessed the scale of the damage from power outages estimated that around 40-60% of small businesses close permanently after a storm and that 90% of businesses which close for just five days following an extreme weather event, eventually fail within a year. A report conducted by the Congressional Research Service concluded that weather-related outages cost the U.S. as much as $70 billion annually. Faced every year with heavy snowstorms, hurricanes and other severe weather incidents that cause frequent shutdowns and blackouts, power utilities across the U.S. require resilient backup power to weather the storms.
Given that the United States is enduring progressively severe natural weather events with every year that passes, power utilities must invest in resilient backup power technologies to avoid outages and restore power as quickly as possible when outages occur. For this reason, smart utilities are today deploying weather-resistant fuel cells that also extend the duration of their substation battery backup.
By design, typically substations are equipped with backup lead acid batteries that open up circuit breakers upon sensing a power loss. These batteries provide backup power to substations’ critical systems to minimize power disruption and the high costs associated with energy blackouts as well as to enable a quicker return to power once the grid returns. But batteries have a critical weakness: a typical battery room can only provide backup power for four to eight hours. In many cases, this is simply not enough time for the grid to return and for the field engineers to fix damaged power lines and equipment. To overcome the power shortfall, a utility could either install more space-intensive battery rooms or rely on diesel generators.
Alkaline fuel cells offer a cleaner, quieter solution with a smaller footprint; they produce auxiliary power that kicks in automatically should the grid go down and provide quick start-up once the power outage ends. Fueled by standard cylinders of industrial-grade hydrogen, fuel cells emit no CO2 and run ten times longer than traditional backup power sources. In addition to being extremely-weather resistant and resilient, fuel cells are extremely low-maintenance solutions. They can also be installed with remote management software that leverages IoT sensors to analyze and monitor remote substations’ performance from a central location. In this way they can provide full visibility into system health and always show the duration of backup power available to each substation. Because they substantially extend battery run-time, fuel cells give the utility’s maintenance team enough time to restore power to all customers of a substation—not just the critical ones. Having this extended runtime significantly reduces the stress level for the utilities’ technical and maintenance teams.
Another reason that utilities appreciate fuel cell backup solutions is the fact that they are a clean source of energy. In contrast to diesel generators with CO2 emissions, fuel cells emit only water. They help utilities to comply with climate directives and meet with the approval of many environmentally-oriented consumers. Challenged each year by more inclement weather and increasingly severe storms, U.S. power utilities can optimize their auxiliary power systems with alkaline fuel cells for resilient, long-duration and emission-free backup power.
The panic around the coronavirus is spreading and impacting more people across continents and touching more aspects of our lives, from travel restrictions to fluctuations in financial markets to delays and shortages in retail supplies. When we look at the bigger picture, what does this crisis mean in terms of climate and our environment? If the claims by the WHO and other scientists that climate change impacts infectious diseases are correct, can we reinforce our efforts to reduce emissions to combat global warming and prevent the threat of future viruses developing? Should we see the virus as an omen guiding us to make our lifestyles and economies more sustainable?
An article in Time magazine warns that the virus outbreak could derail the Paris Agreement efforts to combat global warming. On the most basic level, delays and cancellations of negotiations and conferences is interfering with countries carrying out their pledges to reduce emissions in accordance with climate scientists’ recommendations. And beyond the practical interruptions to climate diplomacy, the urgent political and economic crises caused by the virus are distracting leaders and preventing them from investing the attention and energy that is needed to advance climate policies.
Moreover, with the virus reducing economic growth, especially in China and neighboring countries where the world’s manufacturing takes place, the need to stabilize the economy may well spur increased fossil fuel combustion in an effort to accelerate growth and cause a serious setback in achieving emission reduction targets. While Europe signed the $1 trillion Green Deal to stimulate a package of both economic growth and decarbonization, it isn’t clear that all countries will follow suit.
On the other hand, the world’s reaction to the virus is encouraging for climate change: The rapid response to the virus demonstrates how world leaders can coordinate and cooperate during emergencies, following advice from health scientists to protect lives. Applying this same urgency to climate issues would raise the chances of success. The immediate impact of restricted travel and manufacturing has already caused a significant if temporary reduction in emissions that has notably improved air quality in China and other locations. This development supports climate action and could be leveraged to promote deeper, long-term positive eco-friendly social and behavioral modifications.
Coronavirus has forced us to reassess the need for international travel and come up with alternative ways for remote interaction. For example, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have announced that they will hold a virtual teleconference instead of their annual Washington conference. The economic and carbon savings could turn this one-time measure into a new, more sustainable practice.
According to one report in The Guardian it is too early to know if the impact of the coronavirus can lead to the longer-term reduction in emissions that scientists say is needed to keep global temperatures from exceeding 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. We cannot yet predict the full scope or impact of coronavirus on the economy. Crucial coordination on climate policy would likely be disrupted if the virus should cause the cancellation of the EU-China summit planned for September. But the fact that companies and organizations are successfully responding to the virus by leveraging technology to adapt work practices and maintain productivity is encouraging. Although attention has been diverted to this temporary epidemic, the fundamental challenges of climate change causing severe weather around the globe and its widespread consequences will not disappear. Hopefully we can leverage the lessons we are learning from this crisis to increase sustainability and improve long-term climate action, reduce emissions and accelerate the transition to widespread renewable energy sources – solar, wind and hydrogen fuel cells – for a cleaner, safer and healthier future.
Resilience and long-duration power is a part of the essence of GenCell – not only of our products, but also of our culture and our team. Witness our Senior Electrochemist and IRONMAN Dr. Yair Wijsboom, who finished among the top 100 in his category in the IRONMAN Tiberias Sea of Gaillee 70.3 half-triathlon race with a finish time of 5 hours 44 minutes 16 seconds.
A half IRONMAN, or middle-distance triathlon, is exactly 70.3 miles in length and is longer and much more demanding than a sprint or Olympic-distance triathlon. The race started with contestants swimming a single loop 1.9km (1.2miles) from Guy Beach alongside the Sea of Galilee, the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. The swim was followed by a 90 km (56 mile) cycling course south of the city of Tiberias and the final segment involved a 21.1km (13.1 mile) run on a flat course along the western shore of the Sea of Galilee and through Tiberias City Centre.
This Half IRONMAN Tiberias challenged the athletes with a stormy Sea of Galilee which proved to all the contestants how difficult and volatile a racecourse can be. The tough weather conditions and strong Southeastern winds created extraordinarily high waves that made the swimming extremely difficult. The rough sea conditions were followed by a complex cycling route faced with strong side wind gusts that drove against the cyclists and threatened to topple them over. And the running path featured several ascents and descents. From the over 2,000 contestants some 300 were already disqualified in the initial swimming segment because they missed the cutoff time or because they had to be collected by lifeboats due to danger of drowning. Only 1650 finished the contest.
Dr. Wijsboom trained for four months for the contest, each week on average swimming 4 km in the sea, cycling distances of 120 km and running 40 kms. While he was able to complete his swim, the winds added an extra ten minutes to his swim time. Nevertheless, he was able to finish the running segment with the achievement of a personal best.
“The IRONMAN imbues the durable spirit of GenCell and our reliable, resilient fuel cells,” commented Yair, “During the race I am careful not to burn up all my energy at the start, but instead to expend my energy in a controlled fashion in order to endure long durations and tough weather conditions and despite the challenges to successfully power through to the finish line.”
The company is proud to have Dr. Wijsboom on the GenCell team and to be a sponsor for his impressive performance, not only as an athlete but also in the laboratory.
If you’ve been even remotely paying attention to the electric energy arena in the past year or two, you have likely been hearing an increasing amount of discussion concerning the hydrogen economy. … It can be utilized in sectors of the economy that have been hard to decarbonize, such as steelmaking and marine transport. It may also serve as a long-term storage medium in the power industry. As a consequence, governments and industries around the world are increasingly focusing their efforts on building out the infrastructure necessary to support a hydrogen economy.
…hydrogen can also be moved in the form of chemical carriers …and in liquid inorganic carriers (that is, lacking any carbon-hydrogen bonds), such as ammonia (NH3). And the latter approach is where players like Israeli company GenCell Energy and Japanese multinational TDK come into the picture.
Read the full article about TDK and GenCell In Forbes
In an article contributed to SHALE oil & gas business magazine, the premier magazine covering the shale revolution, Rami Reshef, CEO of GenCell Energy, discusses the positive role of microgrids in representing the perfect environment in which to test new clean power generation technology upfront, thus bringing innovative hydrogen technologies to market faster.
This year the Californian legislature has passed the SB341 Bill mandating telecommunications operators to provide backup power for 72 hours. This new bill is not only great for ensuring effective disaster response, but it’s also an opportunity for this sector to play a part in mitigating against the impacts of climate change — here, too, hydrogen fuel cells can play a significant role in enabling mandatory long-duration backup power.
To read the full article, click here.
As the CEO of a leading fuel cell business serving the utilities industry, I am fascinated by the career of Thomas Edison. We all know Edison as a pivotal inventor and, yes, he gave birth to the first commercially viable light bulb and many other inventions that shaped our industry and the wider world. But when you read about him and hear his quotes, you can really see what drove him to be so successful. He clearly believed in hard work, he was extremely determined, and he thought that anything was possible.
And it was no doubt this optimism that fuelled his ability to create solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. As we know, Edison developed a system of electric-power generation and distribution – something credited as being a crucial development in the modern industrialized world.
But that said, some 130 years after his invention, would Thomas have anticipated that 1.1 billion of us would still be without electricity? And, that in 2016 we would experience 3,800 power outages in the USA? Or that a school in Puerto Rico would go without power for 112 days? I don’t think so. I’m sure that he’d agree that we have more to do.
So, if Edison was alive today, what would he say about the current utility industry? Well, perhaps he already said it.
In recent years, there’s no doubt that the utility industry has worked hard to do just that. It has been forced to challenge its traditional business models and find better ways of doing things to adapt to an ever-changing world.
Why? Because what powers our world is also what’s damaging our planet. And with environmental and governmental legislation now in place to restrict or eradicate the use of fossil fuels, the industry had to act.
You can’t have failed to have heard about or felt the effect of a variety of initiatives to solve this problem. These include the increased use of renewables (wind, solar, wave) to meet climate change objectives; smart meters that empower us to make better decisions about our use of power; the development of microgrid environments; the use of smart grid initiatives and a whole host of other new and often disruptive technologies designed to help us prepare for a future of increased power use and diminishing fossil fuel reliability.
I sense that Edison would approve of these initiatives and that he would be quite excited about some of the new technologies and services starting to emerge. And from the below statement, he clearly understood business too.
Having been an astute businessman himself, Edison would no doubt appreciate this pressure and the need for CEOs to secure and maintain board confidence in a very turbulent market and a somewhat hazy future landscape.
And more day to day, their need to deal with other business challenges such as reducing costly outages and the resulting negative PR; preparing for severe weather incidents; reducing costs and increasing profitability; preparing for an EV future as well as attracting investors; pursuing acquisitions or establishing vital new alliances. It’s a busy time!
As a CEO myself, I am very aware of these pressures too. And in a small but not insignificant way, we’re proud to now play our part in supporting Utilities in this transformation.
How do we do that? Well, our G5rx is a modern fuel cell – hydrogen-based,100% green and emitting no C02 – providing long-duration backup for utility substations. For leading utilities around the world, when the grid goes down, our solution keeps their breakers open and their critical systems running for as long as needed. Over 10 years, a GenCell G5rx providing just 12 hours of backup power a year can save a utility hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct losses and tens of millions of dollars in indirect losses.
Given that Edison himself worked on fuel cells in the 1880’s, I think that he would be fascinated by the insight we had into one of our early pioneer customers, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). We spent two years getting to know SDG&E, co-developing our solution and getting it to the point where it met their most critical needs with all the certifications for wide deployment within their business. This was an amazing time and it gave us a comprehensive understanding of the modern utility business and what their CEO’s want and need. And interestingly, they are pretty universal requirements.
In 2018, thanks to the digital revolution, we’re seeing a much more savvy, informed and demanding consumer base too. The ability to better engage customers and deliver additional value is clearly a big focus for the modern utilities. To achieve that, many are looking at digital technologies to create a more personalized consumer experience and drive increased brand loyalty.
Indeed, utilities are rethinking their traditional role and are now viewing themselves as ‘energy transformation businesses’. As they shift their focus towards creating an inclusive customer experience and migrate to lower carbon, lower cost, and sustainable futures, the provision of energy as a service is becoming a vital component for homes and businesses.
And this is where we see wider use of our technology within future utility business models – fuel cells used to provide critical back-up power via private or semi-private substations at universities, hospitals, police and fire stations and businesses with critical power requirements.
For utilities looking to introduce additional revenue streams and add customer value, this could be a vital new service. In the USA alone, there are over 5,500 hospitals, 15,500 local law enforcement and sheriff’s departments and over 27,000 fire departments – a conservative total of around 53,000 facilities! A huge market opportunity.
As Edison eludes to above, what we do now could not only impact many future generations – especially with regards the use of renewables and other clean technologies such as fuel cells – but it will also tell a story about who we were and what we stood for.
And while this is easy to agree with, being brave enough to proactively change your successful business model employing many hundreds or thousands of people to achieve it, is not just a big ask, it’s potentially a big risk too. So, this perhaps explains why the utility industry was initially slow to respond.
In the case of the worldwide utilities market, I think that Thomas is right and that the same lesson applies to us today. I also think that Edison would be pleased, and perhaps even proud, of how his industry is responding to its many challenges.
Personally, I can see how the industry has become stronger through this period, while demonstrating the kind of Edison spirit, optimism and drive for innovation that will see us successfully adapt and perhaps even emerge stronger, wiser and more profitable too!
In learning from the past to power our future, I’ll let Thomas have the last word:
There’s currently a lot of talk about how we support environmental legislation while balancing a grid under pressure, not to mention how to meet future energy demands. In areas such as North and South America specifically, frequent severe weather incidents that bring down grid power for weeks and months, require much more direct and immediate solutions.
This has led to the rise of decentralized grids or microgrids, which are now not only being trialed for critical utilities backup power but for some more remote communities, used as mainstream primary power too. For the modern utility business, these solutions were typically seen as unconventional, but now increasingly viewed as offering very compelling business models.
The compromise for many though has been the continued reliance on polluting and un-environmental diesel generator technology to support these projects. However, there’s now a 100% clean, weather independent solution that’s not only ready to replace diesel generators, but also provide a host of other benefits too – the modern fuel cell.
Power Engineering International spoke to Gil Shavit, GenCell President & CBDO, to find out more.
Read the full interview on Power Engineering International.
You don’t have to look far to see signs that electric vehicles are the future. A recent poll conducted by Protocol in conjunction with Harris Poll highlights this perfectly. The poll aimed to determine how many people would choose an EV as their next vehicle. The results were eye-opening and yet not altogether surprising. Over 51% of those surveyed said they’d be willing to go the EV route in the future. And most of those were millennials. Then there’s the fact that EV sales have skyrocketed over the last few years.
Photo by why kei on Unsplash
Consider this. In 2016, EVs made up a mere 0.2% of new car sales globally. This number has jumped by over 4000% in just five years to the point that in 2021, 8.6% of new car sales were EVs, while traditional car sales dropped by 11% in a similar period. In 2022, electric vehicle sales accounted for 6.6 million units, up from 2.2 million units in 2019. All this is welcome news.
After all, on the road to meeting the 2050 net-zero goals, EVs are going to play an increasingly pivotal role. Especially when one considers the transportation sector’s carbon footprint. Some estimates suggest that this sector accounts for as much as 24% of global CO2 emissions. That’s why the world needs to transition to EVs – the greener alternative. And now, there is a greater chance people will make this choice because EVs are also more economical than ever before.
Transportation is at the heart of daily life and our supply chains. It’s fundamental to the growth of the economy. In the US alone, this sector is estimated to employ more than 10 million people, and in 2015 was responsible for over 8% of the GDP. And Europe is no better. Following a slight drop in emissions due to a decrease in transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic, emissions across Europe have since risen. In 2021 greenhouse gas emissions from transport in Europe increased by over 7%. Transportation remains one of the dirtiest sectors. A sector that’s ripe for intervention and decarbonization.
Photo by Michael Marais on Unsplash
What’s especially problematic is that much of this sector is still powered by polluting fossil fuels like petroleum. Typically on-road transportation (which includes cars and trucks) accounts for the greatest emissions, and in the US, this is the largest direct source of greenhouse gases. The same trend can be seen in Europe, where emissions are falling in almost all sectors except the transportation industry. Factors like this industry’s dependence on oil, as well as predicted population growth, make decarbonizing this sector so challenging.
What is especially worrying is that even though there are policies to reduce emissions, the transportation sector’s emissions are still projected to grow by as much as 20% by 2050. And even with the most stringent policy change, this sector won’t ever get to zero. It’s against this backdrop that EVs have risen to prominence.
EVs were once considered out of reach for many. In fact, there’s research that indicates that at least 63% of people believe an EV is beyond their budget. But as prices continue to drop, EVs are proving to be an attractive option. And to add to this, there’s the issue of rising gas prices. The EY Mobility Consumer Index found that 34% of those surveyed cited rising gas prices as well as gas penalties in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine as the reason they’re considering an EV.
We’re also seeing how EVs are becoming more affordable as new players come to the table and more entry-level EVs are released. Companies like BYD Auto, which have overtaken Tesla as the world’s largest EV manufacturer, are now vying for their share of the Indian market.
BYD is already winning buyers with its attractive prices. Consider BYD’s latest release: a Seal Sedan, which feels like a Tesla Model 3 but is $8000 less than a Tesla! And because of this competition, manufacturers are slashing prices in China, the world’s biggest EV market. In fact, recently, hot on the heels of price cuts from Tesla, Mercedes-Benz announced that it is also reducing the price of its EVs in China.
There’s also a general shift in the industry where manufacturers are releasing more entry-level models. Chevrolet, Hyundai, and Nissan have all introduced EV models which are more affordable. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently noted that Tesla is developing a vehicle that will sell at roughly half the price of the Model 3 and Model Y.
Incentivization is also adding to the appeal of EVs.There are more and more companies that are offering incentives to employees considering an EV. For example, earlier this year, Bank of America launched a program to provide its employees interested in leasing or purchasing an EV with financial support. Apex also offers EV incentives and has been doing so since 2015.
But these incentives aren’t just for those lucky enough to work at a Fortune 500 company. For example, in the U.S., there are now many incentive and rebate programs (thanks in part due to the Inflation Reduction Act) designed to make leasing and owning an EV affordable. This includes a Federal Tax Credit of between $2,500 and $7,500 for new car owners, as well as a range of other state grants and incentives.
More people than ever before are buying EVs. Some estimates suggest that EV sales are triple what they were just three years ago. Furthermore, a recent report from ARK predicts that EVs could account for at least 90% of the market share by 2027. And this demand isn’t likely to slow anytime soon.
After all, green, efficient EVs are becoming cheaper all the time. This is not only good for the economy but will have a positive environmental impact. And as EVs become the obvious choice so the need for EV charging stations will rise significantly.
EVs are a source of clean, sustainable transportation. Increasingly, they will play a central role in helping countries worldwide meet their net-zero goals by significantly reducing this sector’s emissions. And the good news is that there are already many regulatory frameworks and financial incentives to accelerate EV adoption.
Signs of the EV revolution can be seen all over the world, from the US and Europe to much of the Asia-Pacific. In India, for example, the government has prioritized the transition to EVs with its Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme, which is currently in its second phase. Even in Vietnam, the government plans to test a loan program, incentivizing the shift to EVs. In the European Union, EV tax benefits and purchase incentives are fundamental elements of economic and sustainability policies.
We’re in the fast lane now, and there’s no turning back. EVs are here to stay, and it’s time for all of us to prepare for this exciting new (automotive) chapter.
Hydrogen is the simplest and most abundant chemical element in the universe, the source that powers the stars and the sun, which is essentially a giant ball of hydrogen and helium gases. Ostensibly infinite, we will never run out of hydrogen. However, hydrogen on Earth can only be found within compounds, such as in combination with oxygen in water – H2O – or in compounds with carbon known as hydrocarbons such as natural gas, coal, and petroleum. Separating hydrogen from these compounds requires an energy investment and in the case of separation from hydrocarbons, produces carbon emissions, but when carried out efficiently produces a valuable, safe and clean source of energy or fuel. And when separated from carbon-free molecules, hydrogen energy is carbon-free.
Having the highest energy content of any common fuel per unit of weight, some 3x higher than gasoline, hydrogen is used as a rocket fuel and in fuel cells. Because it can be stored and transported, hydrogen serves as a valuable energy carrier, and as such it complements renewable energy sources when they are not available. Technologies are emerging that allow more efficient production of hydrogen to leverage the element to replace fossil fuels in multiple, diverse applications, both to decarbonize hard-to-abate industries that have traditionally been dependent on hydrocarbons as well as for fueling the transport sector.
To meet the lion’s share of the world’s clean energy needs, the drive is on to produce electricity from renewable energy resources. However, electrification generally achieves efficiency levels of some 35%, while hydrogen can generate electricity with efficiency levels 3x higher. Therefore, hydrogen is the optimal clean power source for high energy consumers such as industrial processes and heavy transport such as railroads, heavy trucks, mobile machinery for construction and mining and even aircraft.
We are seeing today widespread growth of hydrogen-powered heavy vehicles on the road, especially fuel cell trucks. Unlike batteries, which directly store electrons to power electric motors, fuel cell trucks use tanks to store hydrogen gas or liquid molecules as the source of energy. Fuel cell trucks split hydrogen to free the electrons so as to power the electric motor, producing water as the only by-product. There are also hydrogen trucks that burn hydrogen in a process similar to diesel fuel in combustion engines. The hydrogen fuel consumed by the trucks can be produced by reforming natural gas and capturing CO2 or through water electrolysis. In recent years, commercial automotive OEMs have begun to more significantly adopt hydrogen truck technology, such as Hyundai’s launch of the first commercial fuel cell truck fleet.
While the technology for hydrogen trucks and hydrogen fueling is advancing rapidly and deployment is expanding, the major bottleneck to broad deployment is the scarce availability of hydrogen fueling infrastructure, which is expensive and time-consuming to construct and the complexity of the hydrogen supply value chain.
Nevertheless, hydrogen infrastructure in the long run does offer benefits. Hydrogen is gaining traction in other industries beyond transport, which allows scaling up of the investments. The hydrogen infrastructure is in some ways more beneficial and economical than electric truck charging infrastructure in that it has a smaller carbon footprint and there is no costly investment required to upgrade the power grid. Moreover, the rate of refueling with hydrogen is higher than the extended charging times required for electric trucks which cause logistical problems.
Hydrogen also shows great promise for railways and maritime shipping applications; in these industries the high volume of fuel required lends itself to more efficient hydrogen carriers such as ammonia or other LOHCs (liquid organic hydrogen carriers) that are being developed from different chemical compounds. Similarly, there are advancements in hydrogen-powered aircraft, such as the recent first flight of a hydrogen aircraft. Hydrogen planes essentially have four major components – a storage system to safely store liquid hydrogen, fuel cells to convert hydrogen to electricity, a device to control the power of the cells, and then a motor to turn a propeller. Hydrogen-propelled aircraft will offer the benefits of high efficiency, quiet operation and zero emissions.
EV charging can often be a long, drawn-out process. This is compounded by the fact that the industry has developed in many directions with entirely incompatible approaches and interfaces. Different EVs accept different amounts of power, and not all charging stations are compatible with every EV, meaning that things can quickly become overwhelming. In the US, for example, Tesla’s strategy was to intentionally install over 160,000 chargers which, for now, only work with Teslas. But the charging landscape is changing slowly. For example, Mercedes-Benz has plans to build a network of 2,500 high-powered chargers that will work with all EVs by 2027.
One doesn’t have to look too far to see how investing in EV infrastructure can reduce range anxiety and drive higher EV sales. Norway is the best example of this. The country has over 17,000 charging stations, meaning a driver wouldn’t have to drive more than 30 miles without a charging point. This translates to about 20% of all cars on Norwegian roads being EVs as opposed to the US, where it’s estimated that still, to date, less than 1% of cars are electric.
With the rapid rise in the number of electric vehicles on the roads, especially of private cars, the electric grid in many locations is challenged to provide sufficient charging capacity to be able to quickly charge multiple vehicles all across our highways. With EV fleets growing in size, the fleet managers need to invest in infrastructure to keep the vehicles concurrently charged. The lack of power capacity is causing EV driver range anxiety that threatens to slow the transition to clean EVs.
A new and out-of-the-box approach to the problem leverages the hydrogen refueling infrastructure, not to fuel the vehicles, but rather the vehicle chargers. Supplementing grid power and BESS energy storage alongside the renewable energy resources that are often preferred for EV charging in an effort to maximize sustainability, the hydrogen fuel cell offers an environmentally friendly insurance policy in the form of hydrogen that allows the charging station to generate power on-site at all times. Adding hydrogen to the EV charging station energy mix ensures uninterrupted availability – for as long as you have H2, you can charge the EVs. In this way, when sun, wind or other intermittent renewable power sources are not available, especially in extreme weather conditions, the hydrogen fuel cells will keep the charging station running. More benefits of hydrogen fueling include the ability for rapid deployment as well ais its flexibility and convenient transportability; hydrogen supports dynamic power fluctuation, enabling higher power flow in peak hours, and hydrogen or hydrogen carriers can be easily transported to different sites in winter and summer when EV drivers change their routes.
Another good reason to invest in hydrogen for your EV charging station is the opportunity to take advantage of the many government incentives available, such as the extensive new U.S. federal incentives for hydrogen technologies within the Biden IRA, funding opportunities for the EU Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, extended government support for the hydrogen society in Japan as well as hydrogen strategies by various countries around the world.
The GenCell EVOX™ is a good example of a hydrogen fuel cell solution for EV charging. Combining alkaline fuel cell technology with battery storage, hydrogen fueling and energy management software, the GenCell EVOX ensures 24/7 availability of green, grid-independent power wherever EVs need to travel. Rapidly deployable in remote locations at end of grid or in dense locations where multiple EVs consume substantial grid power and require reinforcement, the EVOX can easily upgrade single phase to the three-phase power needed for EV charging. Gaining the best of both worlds, hydrogen-fueled EV charging enables faster electrification of transportation while eliminating the need for costly grid expansion in locations where it may not be justified; indeed the EV charging market can offer an additional stream of revenue to hydrogen fueling stations, enabling faster and more economical expansion of hydrogen infrastructure to accelerate the transition to a clean hydrogen power future.
As our world becomes increasingly connected, we become ever more reliant on power. Most of us view a temporary loss of power as a nuisance, an interruption to the way we live with our gadgets and electronics. But when we or a loved one needs it the most – in a medical facility – a power cut is a thoroughly frightening prospect. While it may not be something we often think about, the consequences of such an incident can be devastating.
In 1987, New York Hospital suffered a 22-minute power outage. During this outage, the electric respirator of a prematurely born, 40-day-old infant stopped. Aware of the infant’s reliance on this respirator, staff were prepared for this complication and began efforts to help him breathe with the use of a manual air pump. Sadly, these attempts were insufficient, and the baby died.
Of course, this was decades ago. Policies, procedures and backup power technologies have greatly evolved since then. Yet in 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, 45 patients at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans, died – a direct result of a power outage.
The 1987 outage at New York Hospital was caused by backup generators failing during a scheduled repair of the main power plant. This problem has continued to overshadow hospitals.
During a New York City-wide blackout in 2003, not only did multiple backup generators fail in hospitals, but it was also reported that fuel supplies for those generators fell to critically low levels as fuel trucks struggled to maneuver across the city. Fuel shortages were a problem again during Hurricane Rita in 2005, and again in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey. During these incidents, two major hospitals required bucket brigades to haul diesel up to the floors where the generators were located. Despite this effort, the generators in both hospitals failed – hundreds of patients had to be evacuated.
Read the full article on NACleanEnergy.