Connecticut-based Proton Energy Systems, Inc. (PES), yesterday announced a series of accomplishments in the field of in Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells and hydrogen generators. PES’s hydrogen generators are in use today, supplying hydrogen for industry, electronics, energy storage and research. It’s unique regenerative fuel cells are being designed to offer the ability to capture and store energy cost-effectively.

The four key accomplishments, which have been reported to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), are in the field of hydrogen energy storage. Proton has been working closely with the DOE Hydrogen Program since 1998 to advance PEM electrolysis towards commercial viability for industrial purposes and energy storage and refuelling applications.

The multi-phase program began with a highly successful demonstration of a renewable solar device coupled with a hydrogen generator and an advanced Stirling heat engine. This demonstrated the technical viability of linking a PEM electrolyzer to a renewable device and generating power from the gas generated by the process.

The second phase of the program has progressed into a strategic engineering enhancement program aimed at critical elements of the hydrogen generator. In this second phase, Proton has targeted numerous system components including the power supplies and system controls, the fluids components, and advancements in gas drying, focused on volume manufacturing.

Another advance is in the area of system power conditioning equipment, where Proton has worked with Sustainable Energy Technologies to develop an advanced power conditioner. This power conditioner has the potential to lower the overall cost of power conditioning, and to provide for a universal interface to direct renewable inputs.

“The DOE Hydrogen Program has been a wonderful partner in our development efforts for over three years. The success of this board development underscores the ability to apply development money effectively to take significant costs out of Proton Exchange Membrane products and increase the speed of commercial rollout,” said Robert Friedland, Vice President of Operations and DOE Project Manager.

“The growing excitement surrounding Proton’s technology stems from our ability to convert electricity into hydrogen fuel. Our current products convert excess electricity from the grid. Our vision for the future includes using electricity from renewable sources to create fuel. We are grateful to the Department of Energy for helping us advance both near and long term objectives,” said Walter (Chip) Schroeder, President and Chief Executive Officer.

According to its Spring Newsletter, PES has developed a multi-kilowatt power capacity UNIGEN regenerative fuel cell system capable of storing up to 70 kWh of electricity onboard in the form of compressed hydrogen. The system is a prototype of one being designed to be used in the telecommunications field. It is expected to offer advantages over existing technology used for telecom backup, which is currently lead acid batteries and diesel generator systems.