Saturday, August 25, 2012

No. 598: A fuel cell system supporting both city gas and propane gas for emergency use (August 25, 2012)

Medical institutions are asked to have an emergency power source by the Japanese law, and the Ministry of the Environment subsidize 50% of the expense that private hospitals need for capital investment as a power saving measure. Fuji Electric developed a fuel cell system usable as an auxiliary power source at the time of disaster. The new fuel cell system runs by city gas, but it runs by propane gas when supply of city gas stops because of a disaster. It collects hydrogen from gas for power generation. It has an output of 100 kW and can switch the fuel from city gas to propane gas in 30 seconds. 

Because the fuel cell system emits air that contains a low level of oxygen in operation, the company plans to sell the new system to data centers by emphasizing this feature. It is 65 million yen a unit, and another 15 million is required for installation. In alliance with a German venture company N2Telligence, Fuji Electric developed a fuel cell system combined with a low oxygen system for data centers abroad. The oxygen concentration of air is usually about 21%, but a fuel cell system can reduce the oxygen concentration to less than 14% that prevents combustion reaction from occurring. Demand for a generation system helpful for fire precautions is growing in Europe. The hybrid system obtained a CE Mark that is the safety standards vital for the marketing inside Europe. Fuji Electric is one of the four makers around the world capable of building fuel cell systems for industrial use.    

Fuji Electric’s fuel cell system. Fuji Electric developed a fuel system that can run both by city gas and propane gas. The switch from city gas to propane gas takes only about 30 seconds.

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