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Extended Run Fuel Cell Backup Power: Solving the Hydrogen Problem

Bill Shank

Today’s telecommunications networks demand backup power solutions that provide highly reliable, cost-effective power for extended periods of time. Proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell systems are proving to be an attractive alternative to traditional and existing solutions such as valve-regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries and gensets. As fuel cell technologies become a viable solution for industries such as telecommunications, utilities, UPS, etc, the remaining obstacles are hydrogen storage and re-supply for long duration (extended run) backup power requirements. Additionally, at remote installation locations such as telecommunications tower sites, hydrogen can prove to be difficult, bulky and heavy to store, and maintenance to re-supply industrial hydrogen cylinders in these remotes sites is not feasible. Reforming technologies and fuel cell products that incorporate reformers exist today that eliminate these obstacles and pave the way for even broader network applications.

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