When I first introduced a young engineer to GenCell’s alkaline fuel cell backup solution to keep power plants and substation under control, he said to me, “Please don’t scrap the good old lead-acid batteries!”
In situations where high voltage lines fail to provide power to substations, there’s an immediate demand for an automated response that opens up all load breakers at once. When the high voltage supply returns, all the MV (Medium Voltage) should be reconnected gradually to prevent equipment damage (mostly transformers under a sudden load impact). This breaker’s serial operation requires an alternative source to power the breaker motors and to keep the control units running. So, any power plant or utility substation should have at least one bank of backup DC power to maintain all controls and essential breaker functions during outages.
When we introduced our GenCell G5 AFC electrochemical generator as a reliable and long term power solution, we received a lot of enthusiasm from our prospect utility clients – but with one proviso, often repeated: “Don’t scrap our existing batteries, but – extend their duration by charging them”.
Our GenCell G5rx ‘range extender’ is designed to do exactly that. Following prolonged blackouts, operators would often find that their batteries were dead, so in order to restart distribution, technicians would be sent to manually operate the breakers after high voltage recovery. This would be a very time consuming process, with every minute causing costly delays and disruption to consumers.
“Flat batteries are our nightmare.” said one of our clients responsible for substation maintenance. “The moment we attached our GenCell’s G5 units, we were greatly reassured and it was like a weight had been lifted from our shoulders. Of course, before adopting the GenCell G5rx technology, we conducted several tests to prove that it would perform well and provide the extreme reliability we need. It didn’t let us down. It was always up when the grid failed, supporting durations of 8, 16 and sometimes even 24 additional hours. Incredible.”
This is why we believe that the marriage between our alkaline fuel cell technology and batteries is a match made in heaven. The ability to manage the impact of a sudden load, and hold high current for long durations is most definitely proving to be a winner. So if you’re a mission control operator or a member of a black start team, the GenCell G5rx could provide you with ultimate peace of mind. As we head into 2017, we are expecting that more and more electric and integrated power providers will say “yes” to GenCell, and walk with us down the aisle of supreme backup reliability.