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UK’'s Fuel Cell Systems to develop ammonia-fed fuel cell with EU grant

Thu, 03/28/2013 - 17:36 -- Editor

Fuel Cell Systems (FCS), a subsidiary of UPS Systems PLC, will form part of a consortium led by AFC Energy to develop ammonia-fed, alkaline fuel cell systems.

The ‘Alkammonia’ project will be funded by the EU Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU) after approval of a £1.53m ($2.32m) grant. The project is expected to commence this month. As a major player in the project consortium, FCS and other partners will be given three years of financial support to help develop the technology.

The aim of the project will be to test the efficiency of the fuel cells in providing power in remote areas. Fuel cell systems are suitable for remote stationary power applications, which have a high cost of downtime.

Applications for the ammonia-fed fuel cells could include providing power for remote telecommunication base stations, which are traditionally powered by diesel generators.  The test results will initially be shared with the mobile telecommunications industry.

Low-carbon emissions and cost effectiveness are some of the many benefits of ammonia-fed alkaline fuel cells. As ammonia is one of the most widely produced chemicals in the world, it’s expected that even the most rural and remote areas could be provided with power. 

The voltage of a fuel cell can vary significantly depending on the load applied to it. FCS is designing and developing power-conditioning equipment to regulate the ammonia-fed fuel cell’s output to 48V. FCS will test its power-conditioning design using a conventional proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell and a resistive load bank rated at 6 kW.

FCS will ensure that components such as the ammonia fuel system, alkaline fuel cell and the power conditioning system are integrated into a safe, compact and easily operable and maintainable power generation system.