Fuel Cells for Stationary Power

Fuel cells promise high efficiency conversion of natural gas, biogas and other fuels into electricity and heat with minimal emissions. As such there is increasing interest in using the technology for distributed generation, particularly as initial capital costs continue to decline. According to RnRMarketResearch fuel cell revenue is expected to increase from from $390m in 2012 to $7.52 billion by 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 44.7%. ARDA’s Fuel Cells for Stationary Power Solution, based on proprietary ARDA-Grid technology, addresses this important emerging market. Fuel cells generate low voltage and are typically organized in stacks to boost output voltage to levels optimized for efficient conversion into AC power by larger centralized inverters. However larger stacks reduce performance and expected life and for certain very promising fuel cell technologies, including solid oxide based cells, this has delayed large scale commercialization.

ARDA’s technology makes it practical and affordable to organize and manage the cells in smaller stacks, thereby improving performance and increasing expected life, while still providing high output voltage required for efficient conversion to AC power. Benefits of the technology include:

  • Improved performance and extended life by using smaller, lower voltage, independently managed fuel cell stacks
  • Improved efficiency due to the ability to operate efficiently over wide input voltage ranges that will also vary over time, and the ability to independently management these varying stacks
  • Increased inverter efficiency by boosting to a constant high voltage optimized for inverter performance
  • Reduced safety concerns by keeping stack voltages low
  • Easy integration with solar and storage using the ARDA-Grid DC link

The fuel cell solution is based on the same ARDA Isolated High-Boost DC Converter utilized in ARDA’s Solar Plus Storage Solution with minor modifications required to optimize performance for fuel cell applications.

ARDA is now designing and deploying an embedded fuel cell solution for a major North American fuel cell company. Because ARDA’s technology and solutions are modular and built around common components each solution leverages prior successes and technology validation.

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