Meier-NT Installs SFC Fuel Cells for Water Level Sensors

October 01, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Communications technology company Meier-NT (Germany) has chosen a fuel cell by SFC Smart Fuel Cell AG (SFC, Munich, Germany) as a reliable autonomous energy source for its products. Meier-NT uses the SFC A50 fuel cell as an emergency power supply for mains-operated, water-level sensor systems and to power off-grid sensor systems at rivers in Saxony, Germany.

For the first application, the uninterruptible power supply functionality of the SFC A50 fuel cell is important because it maintains power even if a station's regular power supply breaks down, which was the case, for example, during the 2002 floods in the region. In the second application, the fuel cell is combined with a 120 Wp photovoltaic system to ensure reliable operation of the measuring sensors also at night, in bad weather, or when covered with snow. The major advantage of the fuel cell over classic batteries is the enormous increase in capacity the fuel cells offer, while simultaneously reducing volume and weight; a 10 L fuel cartridge has a capacity of 800 Ah and, at a weight of only 20 lbs (9 kg), replaces 550 lbs (250 kg) batteries.

"Systems to provide early warning in the context of impending natural disasters are becoming more and more important, as the latest floods in Bavaria and the United States have clearly demonstrated. Many of these stations, however, are located far away from the energy grid and photovoltaic systems alone are just not reliable enough for these important applications," stated SFC Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Pieter Bots. "We are very proud that our products are able to play a key role in situations where human lives are at stake."