New Industry Products

Acta Launches Integrated Fuel Cell Back-Up Power System for Telecoms Market

April 09, 2013 by Paul Shepard

Acta S.p.A. is today launching a back-up power system for the telecommunications market based on its award-winning hydrogen generator technology, for grid-connected and off-grid applications. This product addresses the large and rapidly growing demand for back-up power systems for telecom base stations in Asia, which has become a key growth market for fuel cell systems.

Acta's new product, the Acta Power, incorporates low-cost hydrogen generation onsite, thus avoiding the cost and logistical barriers of hydrogen delivery to base stations in remote or inaccessible locations. It represents an important step forwards for the company, and has been designed based upon the requests and technical requirements of its customers and partners, and drawing on the benefit of prototype field trials that have been running since mid-2012.

Initial pricing for the system is in the region of €30,000-€40,000, depending on specification. Acta estimates that this price is less than half the current selling price of comparable systems based on a fuel cell with standard PEM electrolyser, and that its low maintenance and service costs make the system cost-competitive with battery or diesel systems over a two-three year period, while offering more robust performance parameters and lower theft risk. The company is building its first three units to order and expects first customer deliveries in the summer of 2013. For the fuel cell system components, Acta has chosen the well-established and technically advanced fuel cell system of FutureE, which is based on a Ballard fuel cell stack. FutureE is also working with Acta to incorporate Acta's electrolyser into its Jupiter back-up power system, which it has sold into various major customers including China Mobile.

The Acta Power system will be available with a 2kW or 4kW power output and with a 500 L/h or 1000 L/h hydrogen generator, and includes flexible, complete wireless GSM communication for remote management, control, alarm and assistance. These features are ideal for the telecom back-up power and the energy independent home markets.

Paolo Bert, Chief Executive of Acta, said: "We are excited about presenting this self-recharging fuel cell system at the Hannover Messe, which answers the most frequent and pressing requests that we receive from fuel cell back-up power customers. Working with FutureE's leading-edge fuel cell system, combined with our efficient and low-cost electrolyser, means that we will be able to put onto the market for the first time an advanced, efficient, self-recharging, low cost fuel cell back-up power system, designed for the needs of the telecommunications industry. We are confident that this end user product will also open a very large market in domestic renewable energy storage and energy independent homes."

Mark-Uwe Osswald, Founder and Managing Director of FutureE, added: "We are delighted that Acta has chosen FutureE as their supplier of fuel cell units for the Acta Power System. The combination of the Acta and FutureE capabilities will deliver a high quality, powerful and cost effective unit to the market which will greatly enhance the progress and acceptance of hydrogen fuel cell systems as the next generation of UPS."

Larry Stapleton, Vice President of Sales at Ballard Power Systems said, "We have been providing our fuel cell stacks to FutureE for use in its backup power system for several years now and it is great that we can work with Acta in their latest product launch to address the telecoms market. Ballard's FCgen-1020ACS air-cooled fuel cell stack is a highly reliable power source, currently deployed in more than 2,000 backup power systems worldwide."