Challenges of climate (change)

Fuel cells – a green, reliable response

The UN’s climate panel, IPCC’s recent report on climate changes predicts massive impact on environment due to global heating. And we have seen already, how these climate challenges interfere with our everyday lives, in some cases to catastrophic degrees.

It seems the world is beginning to realize the seriousness of this area. It is all a matter of choice (priorities), action, not least timing. The fact is reductions in CO2 emissions can be met by already existing technologies. Fuel cells running on green methanol as stand-alone or in hybrids with wind- or solar represents a green, clean, future choice for continuous, back-up or portable power.

A major and relevant concern from decision makers is the maturity of alternative technologies. Obviously, no-one is willing to compromise on reliability. Nonetheless, to reduce CO2 emissions, business can transit to green, clean power alternatives and at the same time enhance reliability of operations.

The technology of fuel cell stands out remarkably to deal with climate harshness in terms of robustness and resilience. It thus closes not only the gab to avoid further impacts of future climate changes (by reducing CO2 emissions) but is ideal also for existing areas challenged by harsh weather conditions.

Climate resilience in electricity sectors:

  • More than a half of IEA family 38 countries have very limited, or no information dedicated to climate resilience of electricity systems.
  • Only 17 countries, among the 38 IEA member countries, have included concrete actions for energy sector resilience to climate change in their National Adaptation Strategies or Plans.
  • Even among the 17 countries with concrete actions for climate resilience in the energy sector, some domains of the electricity systems are missing.
  • Only 16% of IEA family countries have incorporated concrete actions for climate resilience of electricity systems into their national adaptation strategies, covering the entire electricity value-chain.

Source: “Power Systems in Transitions” (2020), IEA

Sustainable power equals CO2 reductions but also a set-up being climate resilient, resourceful, and strong in recovery.

Example of fuel cells as back-up power

Securing power during storm

In 2019, all communications were cut off the grip in the Aapeli storm around Prikanmaa. There was an extensive telecommunication darkness leaving municipalities and people with no way to communicate or alert for help during the long power outage. But in Parkano, the phones worked. The secret was to be found in the cell used by the Leppäkoski Electricity. For two years, they had been running a test facility with Advent’s 5kW fuel cells to produce the necessary electricity for the base station.

The fuel cell worked with one tank over 200 liters for about two days. A fuel tank easy to be refilled in almost any weather condition, transporting fuel in canisters on a ATV or snowmobile and the methanol mix. The fuel generator replacing the electric generators worked in conjunction with the base station batteries and proved to be quite reliable, starting automatically at the base station when the main power switched off.

Advent 5kW Fuel Cell Systems and Climate Resilience

Resilience is generally addressed in Advent Technologies A/S  through the investments into remote monitoring and regulators. The purpose here in particular are the regulators needed to ensure that mechanisms and tools to evaluate, monitor and track progress over time are made available:

  • keep track of power system reliability and perform resilience tests.
  • mandate common planning procedures and information-sharing tools in interconnected systems

A more specific conceptual framework for the climate resilience of the electricity system can help policy makers better identify climate resilience as an element of electricity security. In Advent, we have applied the conceptual framework provided by IEA, to address the climate resilience of the electricity system dimension as benchmark for own achievements. It delineates the key dimensions of an electricity system’s climate resilience – robustness, resourcefulness, and recovery:

Robustness

HTPEM fuel cells have a high tolerance to fuel impurities, hence making it possible to run on hydrogen with impurities such as CO, CO2,etc. from fuel reforming processes. The high operation temperature and internal heat utilization makes the fuel cell stack robust to changes is the atmospheric surroundings, enable stable operation in arid desert conditions, icy mountain regions and humid tropic climate.

Resourcefulness

Advent 5kW fuel cells are efficient operation in a broad operating range, from low to high power. There is a seamless transition between load points. Fuel cells have the ability to continue operation during immediate shocks such as extreme weather events. Unlike batteries, fuel cells do not degrade at extreme temperatures and their range can be between –20 C up to +50 C.

Recovery

Remote monitoring makes it possible to predict failures before they get critical. Preventive maintenance is a key factor to keep the methanol fuel cell system reliable. In case of interruption, the service team will be alerted, and in position to take immediate action – in many cases remote from the service center, and within minutes, the system will be ready for operation.

Fit for the green transition?

Download our guide: “Fit for the green transition?” to map your company’s opportunities transitioning to clean power by Advent.

The guide is intended to help you consider and initiate the transition to clean and renewable energy and presenting by Advent a viable catalyst; methanol-based fuel cells for your future, alternative energy practice.

Download guide: Fit for the green transition?
Fit for the Green Transit