Equipment & Technology, North America, On Site Renewables

EPRI PEAC Purchases Enable Fuel Cell Power Quality System

VALENCIA, Calif.—DCH Technology Inc., a leading innovator of hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen-specific safety and measurement equipment, announced that the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) PEAC Corp.-a leading research and development organization serving major electric power utilities worldwide-has purchased a state-of-the-art power quality system from DCH’s wholly owned subsidiary, Enable Fuel Cells Corp. (FCC).

Hundreds of utilities and their customers are currently pooling resources to fund power quality research. EPRI PEAC, currently involved with numerous such projects, purchased the Enable system after a comprehensive analysis of alternative fuel cell systems sold today. They believe fuel cells-integrated with their own electric power management technologies-offer a clean, reliable and responsive solution to power quality issues worldwide.

“With the technology from Enable Fuel Cells Corp., combined with EPRI PEAC’s unique super capacitors, engineers now have a solution that has high reliability and operates virtually maintenance free,” said Tom Geist, EPRI PEAC power quality manager. “Enable has moved fuel cell technology out of the laboratory and into the real world.”

EPRI PEAC recently demonstrated the system to more than 50 global utilities at its laboratories in Knoxville, Tennessee. The system was fully tested earlier in the week and, Geist said, “The fuel cell is working great. I am very pleased.”

Enable worked closely with EPRI PEAC to develop the unit, which offers utilities the ability to reliably adjust very quickly to varying load conditions, including rapid response to grid drop-on the order of 75 microseconds. It consumes hydrogen, tap water, and air to produce 3 kilowatts of electrical power, delivered to either a 200 VDC load, 400 VDC load, or 208 VAC line or load. The proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology of the system’s Enable fuel cell minimizes parasitic energy consumption.

“Enable is aggressively developing fuel cells for the electric utility industry,” said Enable FCC vice president and general manager Stephanie Hoffman. “The EPRI PEAC system represents a highly efficient and responsive solution to grid overload. But that’s just the tip of the potential of fuel cells in this market. Fuel cell systems could help decentralize the power industry, protect the environment, and provide low cost electricity for consumers.”

“Enable Active Fuel Cell (AFC) systems-like the 3 kilowatt system purchased by EPRI PEAC-can be packaged to provide from 200 watts to 10 kilowatts of electric power. Thus we feel we are positioned to meet virtually any foreseeable utility application.”

EPRI PEAC and Enable will continue to test the system over the next several months. Simultaneously, they will develop a similar power quality system that can use natural gas as the feeder fuel for hydrogen production.