Hybrid electrolyzer and fuel cell combo offers cost-effective grid stability

Gencell hydrogen fuel cell
Image credit: GenCell

GenCell Energy, an Israel-based manufacturer of fuel cell energy solutions, has announced that it successfully completed integration between the Enapter AEM Electrolyzer and the GenCell alkaline fuel cell.

The project demonstrated the successful performance of the GenCell fuel cell and Enapter electrolyzer and validated that the electrolyzer successfully generates the amount and quality of hydrogen needed to operate the alkaline fuel cell in a hybrid or backup power solution.

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As the energy sector around the world increases the uptake of intermittent solar and wind power and raises its decarbonization goals, there is growing feasibility, justification and demand for hybrid power and green microgrid systems.

Hybrid power systems today, whether operating entirely or partially on-grid or off-grid, increasingly recognize the value of incorporating electrolyzers, fuel cells and hydrogen storage for long-duration power to offset intermittent power generation sources, charge short-lived batteries and achieve decarbonization goals.

Integrating the Enapter AEM electrolyzer together with the GenCell alkaline fuel cell in a hybrid or microgrid power system prevents curtailment of surplus intermittent energy and instead leverages the electrolyzer to convert that energy to industrial-grade hydrogen.

This industrial-grade hydrogen can be economically stored and used on-demand as fuel to run the GenCell alkaline fuel cell when intermittent, grid or battery power is not available, both to charge the batteries and to provide electricity for as long as needed until the other power sources return to production.

The ability of each Enapter electrolyzer to feed the alkaline fuel cell without costly filtration or purification simplifies and eliminates additional costs from the power system.

Producing hydrogen-on-demand with an electrolyzer next to the fuel cell both eliminates the often significant logistical operations and operating expenses of the hydrogen supply chain and makes fuel cells relevant for long-duration backup in locations where hydrogen is not readily available.

In many poor grid systems or hybrid environments where hydrogen is either not available or very costly to supply, today the integrated Enapter- GenCell solution can deliver crucial and emission-free backup power at a cost that is equivalent to or lower than the cost of diesel power.

Both Enapter and GenCell offer TCO calculations demonstrating already today that the cost of the joint solution is equivalent to or less than the cost of backup power from diesel generators, wherein the costs of the equipment of both manufacturers are expected to drop further as technologies mature and lifetimes extend.

Increasingly microgrids are incorporating hydrogen and fuel cells to enable long-duration energy storage and generation. Producing more “green” hydrogen when renewable energy is plentiful by means of electrolysis, storing the hydrogen and converting it to energy-on-demand by means of the fuel cell to complement short-duration batteries and to resolve seasonal fluctuations makes microgrids resilient and energy and fossil fuel-independent.

“We are pleased and not surprised to learn the results of GenCell’s validation of the satisfactory performance of our electrolyzers,” remarks Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, CEO, Enapter. “While our versatile equipment can easily be paired with most any fuel cell on the market, as Enapter, we look to minimize the costs and maximize the reliability of our solutions for our customers. Bottom line, GenCell’s unique capacity to run on 99.9% purity hydrogen will save customers more money.”

Comments Rami Reshef, CEO, GenCell, said: “The advent of the hybrid power solution and green microgrid is changing the future of our energy economy for the better. Production of green hydrogen at scale will significantly increase the demand for renewable energy, creating jobs and accelerating decarbonization.

“Utilities are achieving faster and more reliable grid modernization in weather-sensitive regions by replacing traditional pole and line systems with renewable microgrids. Now that in addition to being reliable, weather-resistant and emission-free, hybrid power solutions incorporating Enapter AEM electrolyzers and GenCell alkaline fuel cells are becoming more economic than diesel, it is even more relevant to Say No to Diesel.”

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