More fuel cell power units enter rental market
By Murray Pollok07 February 2011
Three fuel cell power generation systems are being rented in the UK by UPS Systems following an agreement with French fuel cell specialist Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy.
UPS has signed a distributor agreement with Air Liquide under which it will market the Energy Container, Mobixane and Commpac 500 products for short or long term rentals.
The containerised Energy Container delivers up to 2.5 kW of power and is designed for extended use on construction projects, remote sites, events and festivals. Mobixane is a more portable 2.5 kW unit with eight hours runtime and suited to use in the entertainment industry on TV and film sets; and the Commpac 500 is a lightweight version generating up to 0.5 kW of power for long running on remote sites.
UPS Systems managing director, Tom Sperrey, said, "Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy's rental model is a major breakthrough for the UK market. Whilst we are seeing more and more companies interested in fuel cells for their organisations, one of the barriers in adopting higher-output fuel cell systems has been the capital costs involved.
"To be able to lease Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy's hydrogen systems means that the technology is now much more financially accessible and we predict that this will open up entirely new markets for fuel cells and their adoption as a current and viable technology."
Mr Sperrey said the rental approach provided companies with the opportunity to assess the benefits of zero emission, low noise fuel cell units with no risk; "Our experience is that once a customer has experienced the unique benefits of fuel cells they quickly become an advocate of them."
The three Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy's hydrogen systems are powered by a PEM (Proton Exchange membrane) fuel cell. UPS said the units are silent when operational, easy to deploy and require little maintenance.
Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy is a division within Air Liquide focusing on the development of hydrogen energy technology. As well as delivering products such as the power generation units, it is working on creating a network of hydrogen filling stations and decentralised hydrogen production. It has established 45 fuelling stations worldwide.
Fuel cell technology is generating a lot of interest in the rental sector. Netherlands rental company and genset manufacturer Bredenoord has developed a fuel cell genset which it has already rented at festivals in the UK and Netherlands, and more recenly US manufacturer Multiquip announced the launch of a fuel cell powered lighting tower, with more products to follow.
Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy is currently providing the hydrogen and filling station infrastructure to power Walmart's fleet of fuel cell powered forklift trucks at its distribution centre in Alberta, Canada.