General Motors Corp. (GM, Detroit, MI) and its fuel cell development partners unveiled a demonstration stationary power unit designed to provide backup power to cellular towers during power outages. The backup power generator, known as the HyUPS system, is about the size of a refrigerator and can generate up to 25kW for up to two hours to keep wireless phone towers operating through a power outage. The fuel cell that generator GM is testing extracts hydrogen from either natural gas, methane or gasoline. The hydrogen is then mixed with oxygen from the air and the fuel cell converts it to electricity.
"This is the first planned commercial product to emerge from our fuel cell research and development efforts with our partners," said Larry Burns, GM vice president of research, development and planning. “It's also a solid example of our strategy to accelerate fuel cell technology commercialization for automobiles by first focusing on stationary applications."
GM partner Hydrogenics Corp. (Toronto) will work with Nextel
Communications Inc. to field-test the unit in California during the first quarter of 2002. Other companies involved in developing the new technology are Quantum
Technologies Worldwide Inc. (Irvine, CA) and Giner Electrochemical Systems (Newton, MA).