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Fuel cell systems and Hydrogen supply for Early markets

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Fuel provision for early markets

EU-funded researchers developed a new generation of fuel cell (FC) systems for the early markets of telecom backup power and material handling vehicles.

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The EU-funded project LIQUIDPOWER (Fuel cell systems and hydrogen supply for early markets) was conducted by a consortium of European companies that invested significantly in developing and testing hydrogen, FC and reforming technology for critical backup power applications, and transport equipment. Together, project partners covered the entire value chain and all disciplines and technologies required for providing a fully working FC system. One project partner has been developing and marketing proprietary reforming catalysts and reforming technologies since 1990 for use in burners for heat production, fuel processors and FC applications. With many years of experience in the field of research and development in FC and hydrogen technologies, another project partner cooperated with the first to develop the reformer system for onsite hydrogen production. The second partner developed a small-scale pressure swing adsorption (PSA) unit for pure hydrogen output and integrated the reformer system consisting of the methanol reformer and the PSA unit. The cost of hydrogen production makes up a large part of the total cost of ownership for these early markets. Compared to hydrogen being produced at large industrial infrastructure, on-site methanol reforming holds the potential for providing hydrogen at very low costs for the backup power and transport equipment markets. With a methanol reformer integrated into the FCs, systems can enjoy reliable backup power over extended runtimes. First, project partners established the specifications of the FCs, methanol reformer and hydrogen purification system for on-site hydrogen supply. For each of the developed technologies, laboratory tests were conducted to ensure that the technical and market targets are met. Then, partners conducted further research into the methanol reformer technology to meet higher capacities, higher efficiencies and lifetime as well as significantly higher outlet pressures. Project results were disseminated throughout Europe to the hydrogen and FC industry as well as the telecom and transport equipment industries to identify further potential partners.


Early markets, fuel cell, backup power, LIQUIDPOWER, hydrogen, methanol reformer

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