Sustainable Energy Delivers Fuel Cell Inverter Platform

April 26, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), a developer of power electronics for renewable energy applications, announced that it has delivered the first of its next-generation inverter platforms for stationary fuel cell applications. The new inverter platform has a peak "stack-to-grid" electrical conversion efficiency of over 94%.

Power inverters are an essential part of the infrastructure for the stationary fuel cell industry, converting the dc output of fuel cell stacks into ac needed by electrical devices. Sustainable Energy’s patented design offers a new approach to power conversion, enabling a single-step conversion from low-voltage dc power to grid-standard ac voltage with minimal loss of energy, and active bi-directional control over the fuel cell current.

"Unlike most inverter designs, Sustainable Energy’s fuel cell inverter efficiencies actually increase as the fuel cell stack voltage drops," stated said Director of Technology Development Brent Harris. "The ability to achieve high efficiencies at lower voltages is a critical design condition for the industry, as the fuel cell stack voltage decreases with increasing power output. What is also especially exciting for us is that we are now using the same power electronics, controls software and transformer design for both solar photovoltaic and fuel cell applications. This is a very significant milestone in our quest to deliver, what we believe will be, the industry’s first 'universal' inverter – an inverter that uses the same power electronics for all distributed generation and storage technologies."