Tech Talk - Fuel Cell Backup Power System - Hydrogen Technology Explained - Hyfindr Limbrunner
Hello, my name is Steven. Welcome to Hyfindr Tech Talks, where we understand the technology that makes the hydrogen economy work. Today, we are going to be talking about backup power systems and for this. I will be joined by Manfred Limbrunner from Proton Motor. Manfred actually started at Proton Motor a long time ago as an engineer, worked his way all the way and now he's at the very top of the management board. So, he's basically seen it all and knows all about Power
Systems. So, Manfred welcome to the Hyfindr Tech Talks. Yeah. Hi, Steven. Thank you very much for the kind introduction and invitation. Thank you Manfred. It's great to have you here and I see you also brought something quite big with you. What is this, Manfred? Well it's not quite big. It is actually the smallest fuel cell system that we have and that we sell this is our top seller. It's the high module S8. This will be also available in a short time with 4 kW. So, this has 8 kW, as is or is 4 kW now. Currently, as you
see it here, it is a plug&play 8 kW fuel Cell system. Okay. So, this is a fuel cell system right here in the studio okay and this obviously is in backup power systems as well. This is the heart of the fuel cell backup power systems. All right. Okay. Perfect, then let's go right into it. Let's talk about a few backup power systems. What is a backup power system? Well for this I think I have also brought you a couple of pictures, where you can see our fuel cell systems how they are implemented and then I think we talk also from the electrical and media side. Oh yeah. Okay, cool. Well then maybe we should get this other side. Maybe we can get Björn, my
dear co-founder, can you please help to take this aside? And then I'll get the pictures in. Perfect. So, right Manfred, here they are. So backup power, what is it? Well backup power is quite widespread term because with backup power you can really break it down in a couple of different applications. So, mostly known also as Uninterruptable Power Systems - UPS or emergency power systems. So, this is always when the grid falls off and you have to differentiate if that is without any gap or with a gap UPS and EPS or if you have any applications where you need power supply and you don't have any grid available. Okay, yeah. So and the major point behind these backup power systems is always you have to first look on the electric integration because of fuel cell system or a fuel cell for itself is I always say produces unregulated voltage. So, you
always up and down. Yes. So, there you have to see how you couple this with the grid and also as a fuel cell system always needs some power to start up. Okay. You couple it in backup power systems with a battery. Okay. So, what we see here on the diagram is essentially the consumer the the load side and this is the grid and then the backup power goes in here, in between. Yes.
So, basically what you see here, you see the blue box that I brought with me. Yeah okay. That will be that one for example and as I said the fuel cell is producing a DC, a voltage output there and the DC voltage output of the fuel cell doesn't always match with the battery. You have to couple this with the DCDC converter. This is an essential part where you bring them together. Alright. And then so you have one voltage here on this. So, this could be whatever it could be two 240 volt AC yeah, okay and then you have a converter here and what this battery could be any size as well? Well basically, it is when you look at how you set up a few backup power fuel cell system, you always have to look at the load. Now, you have to say okay, what is the load, what power level does it need, and if it starts it always has a peak? Yes, okay. So, basically what you try not to do is have the fuel cell supply of the peak power.
So, for this the battery jumps in, cuts the peak power more or less and also brings the energy for starting up the fuel cell system, because we have to consider that that the grid is is gone. Yes. Well, I mean and I know several let me say kind of power systems that they all need some form of energy. Even diesel generators need a battery. So, take us a little bit further, how is this all made up? So, basically now when we have looked at the at the basic sketch of the power electronics of the electronic side. Then what is missing actually for a fuel
cell system, as you just mentioned diesel, we have to supply a fuel cell with some media. Yeah. A fuel cell what you bring in is air surrounding air and of course hydrogen and hydrogen is the energy source. So, if you talk about what is the backup time of the load, you have to consider how long it runs and based on the back on the bridging time what they call it, you bring the hydrogen as the energy source. Both of these medias, you bring into the fuel cell, this is basically an energy converter. Okay. It produces heat electricity and pure water and has some exhaust and we bring out the exhaust, air, water and maybe some purges through this line. Also, as I said a fuel cell is besides producing electrical power, produces some
heat. Yes. The value is basically 50-50,I would say. So, we need also a cooling unit for that. Okay. Understood. So essentially, now we're substituting the grid as an energy source with hydrogen as an energy source for this load. Yeah. So, when you look how this normally runs. So in the beginning, let's say the grid is there, if the grid falls away then the battery takes over and immediately bridges the gap of the grid to supply the load and also supplies the necessary power to the fuel cell to start to start up. Okay and then that starts up. Yeah. As soon as the fuel cell is there and can supply the power, the fuel cell completely takes over and then the complete energy for the load and the power for the load is supplied through hydrogen and fuel cell. All right. Okay. Anything else needed for the setup?
Yeah, of course. Basically, I always say you have three different topics. You have power electronics, you have media, what we just said and then what is still missing is how do we control all of this because when we when we look on them on the next slide, all of these components what you see the DC AC converter, battery, the DC-DC converter and the fuel cell system. They have internal control systems and you need a master controller that I would say summons all up and make sure that they play together in a good manner, in a good way. So, this is also something that you guys will develop a master controller to basically you know make all this work in tune and in line with the system. Well, the master controllers I would say it's not such a big development topic, because here normally what we take but it's different on other sites as well. We take SPS controller. Okay. So, it is not
really software development. It is taking, let's say a state-of-the-art components. Okay. Oh yeah. So, you mentioned there's was control side and here we have a schematic. Yes. That this schematic shows more in detail the P&I of a fuel cell system. Yes. So, when we when we look on the blue surrounding, this is the complete fuel cell system from media site for example that remember the blue box I brought with me. Yeah the box we had on the table here. So, everything that
is inside here is inside the blue box and what you see here are the interfaces, the media interfaces. So, what you see it's very limited interfaces. Again, comparable to a diesel transet and of course you have some exhaust, where you bring it outside the dotted surrounding is, if you bring it into a cabinet into a housing into a containers containerized solution, then you also have to make sure that because the fuel cell system is throwing the air from inside the housing, you bring air in and as well you have to look at let's say, how to implement it in a safe manner. I just say the word ex-zones. Yeah, ex-zone concept and this you have to vent. Yeah. Okay and you said air. So, these systems need air obviously to work on the cathode side but the cooling is not done by air. Is this correct? So, these are all liquid-cooled systems. Well, we do
liquid cool systems. Yeah. Of course there is also the potential of air-cooled fuel cell systems but the air-cooled fuel cell systems they placed they play the major role in the low power generation sets. For example for mobile base stations up to 2.5-3 kW but everything that goes on our higher power levels, then you you make a liquid cool filters. Okay, so how would
this look when it's then in a bigger system? You're talking, if you need more power. Yeah. You have the 8 kW in mind I guess. Exactly. So, well we have fuel cell systems 8 kW but the next step is then 21 to 43 kW and seven kilowatt steps and then we have fuel cell systems up to 200 kW and then you can multiply them. This is also shown on this schematic. Yes. So, if you see here, this is a little bit more in detail. Yeah. This is actually
out of a customer fuel cell project. Project of yours. And what you see here is these fuel cell systems, you know the fuel cell systems are getting coupled with the DC-DC converter on the DC link on the voltage battery; yeah; on the voltage level of the battery and that way you can multiply these fuel cell systems and the fuel cell systems can work completely independent from each other. So, basically what I always say there is no power limit. It's just it basically runs always down to the question, how do you store the hydrogen. Okay. Alright. So, if I can sum up what I've heard so far, so essentially the fuel cell system is there providing energy but there's always a battery needed for that intermediate break that you know when there's a cut, to not have that cut to take that over but I know this from all kinds of other backup power systems as well and then the fuel cell system jumps in. How long does it take until we get the power that we needed usually? It takes less than one minute that the fuel cell system ramps up to full power and then it depended on what the load needs. It can also be operated dynamically but in stationary
systems. Normally it runs then stable on the load and so it'll be there in a minute. Does it need to so this is from rest essentially from just idling? Yes. from not even idling. It's completely off, not saying anything. Yeah. So, okay that's one thing. Tell me I'm just taking a step up why would one take a fuel cell system as a backup power? I mean obviously we see a lot of diesel generators or other kinds of generators use that so, what why would one take a fuel cell? Well, with diesel of course we all know that nobody is too fond anymore of exhausts of a CO2 that's going into the air. Yeah. On the other hand of course, you would like to have the same functionality as a diesel gensets. Yes. The only way to do this if you want to have long bridging times and high power is with a fuel cell and of course compared to a diesel genset, a fuel cell is very easy to maintain. So the maintaining cycles are much shorter. So, for remote
areas, where you don't want to go regularly. I don't know a couple of weeks every time to look how the diesel is doing to start it, to look after the diesel. A fuel cell can sit there. The hydrogen is completely without any that it will evaporate. Yes, it will stay and you can also have let's say a remote access to do the servicing. So, the TCO over the complete time
frame compared to a diesel is cheaper. Okay, wow. That's super interesting. So, tell me if you put a system somewhere outside you know like in a remote location, how long until you have to come back for servicing? Once a year. Once a year! Yeah, because basically the only thing what you have to service or what you have to look in a fuel cell system is the hydrogen sensors. You
have to go there and look them every year if they are still working properly and then you go there and look after the fuel cell system. Okay. So, how does such a system look? And I know you brought a photo of that as well. I think it's I think what we can put on the table here. It's bigger than the one that it fits into your studio. So, I brought a couple of
pictures. Okay, so I think we had also already a look so this is basically the fuel cell, it's a complete backup power system. Yeah. So, a containerized solution and everything you saw on the first; on the previous slides. Yes. The battery, the fuel cell system, the DC-AC converters, the DC-DC converters, everything is here placed. All in there.
You have three stacks, is this correct or three systems? The systems. We call the stack. The stack is the Black Box, yes, and the complete system is the frame. So, these are our high frame systems and we multiplied them by three. So, we come up to roughly 130 kW of fuel cell power in total. In total, okay. And the peak power can be supplied by the battery. Okay. Of course, the DC-AC converter also has to cope with the power Amp. So, 240 kW
of peak power, this can run also for a couple of minutes on 240 kW and then the fuel cell takes over and can run stable at 130 or at a lower level. Just a bit of orientation here. So, here the fuel cell system battery probably in here on this side. Behind our logo, exactly, and then what is this out here? What are they? This is the cooler. I told you, when we talk about how 130 kW of power, if it runs completely on full load, we have the same power thermally and you have to add a backup power, you normally don't use the waste heater, so you have to cool it down. Okay and what about the hydrogen? Where is that? Is it in this picture? Well, not on this picture. I mean that there is the interface you know, because
now we're talking about where's the interface for hydrogen and whereas the interface to the custom and to the grid or to the load. Yeah. So, the interfaces are hydrogen is placed here and here's the custom interface. I have to see. Here, you see it again. But there we see the tanks. Yes, exactly. So here, there is a tank. Essentially, wherever this place will needs some kind of storage and okay and that can keep this running. This is basically at our premises. So, this is the hydrogen storage tank for operating our factory as well. Yeah. This for example has roughly 50 bar and about 100 kilogram of hydrogen inside, should last for about 10 to 12 hours, if you run It On full load. Okay, all right,
but 10 to 12 hours, this big container running on full load. So that's, what was the full load again? 130 kW. 130 kW, okay. So, that is something I mean to get a battery that size is possible but also big. It's also big but you don't let's say if we have here for example containerized hydrogen storage for 350 or 500 bar or even a metal hydrate storage system, this is much smaller. Much smaller than the fuel cell system. So, you have to also look what is the right hydrogen storage solution. Yeah, that's true because the more hydrogen basically the longer
this could run and just if I may ask, can this run you know four days in a row? It can as long as the hydrogen is done. Yeah, of course if you can also do a swapping of the hydrogen storage system which is not possible with batteries and if battery is empty you cannot swap anything. Oh yeah. So, with a logistic concept you can extend the runtime. So, it's always the question, how much do I store or do I have a logistic concept behind it. So, okay now, can I just, I have this one or two technical details that I want to ask you. So, you said you have three systems here. So, just I mean you know since you're here, do they all run kind of like at the same what should I call it speed or capacity at the same time notes or are you are you know running one and then you turn on the other one and then the other one, you know? How does that work? If all of them run at the same time then they run or should run basically at the same load. So, now this is also where the master controller takes care of.
But of course you can have one system running and the other ones shut down. So, this is also possible and also it is, this is also some kind of redundancy. Yeah. If one system falls off, of course you have a little bit less load but you still have power. Okay, wow. So, yeah that's you are building these kind of systems and they can be deployed anywhere in hot cold environments. Yes.
I mean this container is for outdoor use. Yes of course, we had specifications, where we said okay 50 °C outside temperature in Bavaria. If this always occurs, it's a different question, yeah but as it is encapsulated and then housed we make sure that the temperature inside the container stays where the fuel cell is not damaged or other components are not damaged. Wow that has been so much. Manfred, anything else there is to know? Well anything else, let's say of course this. I will maybe go quickly through these slides
because this is the PPI scheme with all of the all of the three fuel cell systems what you see, but what you see the interface, the number of interfaces stays basically the same. So, it's hydrogen in, this is water out, and this is exhaust out, and this is what I wanted to show you where the hydrogen interface is. So, you see this black hose? Yes. This is where we connect to the hydrogen storage system. So, we come in with a pressure of roughly 6 bar
and then we take care of it inside. But the black hose is the hydrogen and these are? This is coolant. This is coolant and well if you use a house or you have it's dependent and this is the interface to the electrical and communication side to the customer. Okay. And of course, as you have seen it is all built on one rack yeah. So, this rack has like I don't know how you call it an English dampers or whatever. You can put
it down and there's the truck coming in, goes underneath and locates it where you need. So, for example, if you have like a site where you have a road building or something and you need clean power, you can place it there and place also the hydrogen storage system and then you have 240 kW on site. Wow. Okay. I must say overall, this is really good news because here you have a backup or just general power solution that can be moved around that is 100% clean that can be operated in that way, if you want to say it that way and it's really an alternative to what we currently have in terms of backup power which is mainly possible. Manfred, we have unfortunately
come to the end of the time. The time has flown. Yeah. It has been an absolute pleasure to have you here and I hope that you guys enjoyed watching this video as well. If you want to to get in contact with Manfred or find other great systems and components like this for the hydrogen economy please go on www.hyfindr.com. You can find them all there. If you like this video please subscribe or
give us a note here and we'll be happy, if you watch other videos or follow us on LinkedIn or get to the community in touch anyhow. Manfred, it has been a pleasure. I can say it again. Pleasure for me as well. Thank you very much. Anytime. Yes, have a wonderful day and see you bye bye. Bye bye.