Regenerative Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Microgrids
SolarBotanic has in partnership with Brunel developed a renewable energy source to specifically address the issue of replacing the current, taxing energy production systems located in remote areas. The company's hybrid energy system is based on the principle of generating energy through photovoltaic material and a uniquely designed mechanically robust turbine, and then conserving that energy in Regenerative Hydrogen Fuel Cells (RHFC) – a system showing great potential for environmentally-friendly energy conservation.
A recent EU directive has drawn attention to the high electricity generation cost in isolated areas located across Europe, including, but not limited to, alpine areas, islands and small villages. Even though some of these areas have the capacity to support renewable energy systems, their remoteness begets the use of fossil fuel-depended combustion plants, which significantly raise both the logistical and environmental cost of energy production in the aforementioned areas.
Commenting on the company's system potential, while highlighting the importance of using renewable energy sources to power cell phone towers, the company's media representative stated that "Telecom base stations in remote areas have to operate with an unreliable power grid, or even without a grid at all. Currently, off-grid stations are mostly powered by diesel generators. Most telecom infrastructure companies are looking for alternatives to avoid the high investment, high maintenance and fuel costs. RHFC systems are the answer."
He continued "The energy capacity and power capacity of a RHFC can be configured independently. Storing energy in hydrogen cells provides flexibility, and a dramatically higher energy density than any other energy storage medium, using cell phone towers as a microgrid energy source is the Internet of Energy (IoE)."
Insuring against the absence of wind or sun for up to ten days, while doing away with the need for a battery backup, SolarBotanic's system boasts significant cost and energy savings; a long life span of over 15 years; improved energy system security and reliability, compared to diesel systems; as well as a natural design, which seamlessly blends in with natural surroundings.