CA NAWS Completes First Phase Test of Fuel Cell

October 09, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

After 60 days of Phase I testing, engineers at the Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS, China Lake, CA) and at Proton Energy Systems Inc. (Wallingford, CT), a hydrogen generator and regenerative fuel cell company, are using findings to continue refining performance of Proton's UNIGEN® RE regenerative solar/fuel cell power system.

The five-year development program at China Lake began in June using Proton's 1kW UNIGEN® RE regenerative solar/fuel cell system to demonstrate use of a power plant that generates electricity from renewable, non-polluting resources. Phase I data will be used for system optimization. The goal is to develop a validated 5kW UNIGEN® system that can be deployed to remote locations that do not have access to the electrical grid in order to power essential functions, e.g. communications equipment.

The UNIGEN® RE reclaims the fuel cell byproduct (water) for hydrogen generation. By recycling the system's water, the UNIGEN® RE system conserves valuable water resources. The UNIGEN® RE system's rate of hydrogen production and usage, and efficiencies of the systems' individual components (photovoltaic array, hydrogen generator and fuel cell) have performed as predicted. Phase II of the China Lake project will be a one-year demonstration test period for the UNIGEN, which will track the UNIGEN's performance and reliability in extreme climate operation. The system will operate on a 24-hour profile to simulate real-life electrical load requirements.