Monday, November 2, 2009

Fuel cells for rural India

The US-based companies 3M and Plug Power have entered into an exclusive commercial supply agreement, for 3M membrane-electrode assemblies (MEAs) to be used as a critical component in Plug Power's GenSys® PEM reformate stacks. The continuous-run GenSys prime power fuel cell systems are being deployed into rural India, and will replace diesel generators at remote telecoms sites.

The design of the reformate stack allows customers to realize the economic and environmental benefits of fuel cells, while avoiding the logistics involved in transporting pure hydrogen to their remote cell sites. GenSys reforms liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) into a hydrogen-rich reformate, which is supplied to the fuel cell stack. The GenSys reformer design is also proprietary to Plug Power. With minor adjustments, Plug Power's system can process a variety of hydrocarbon-based fuel stocks, such as natural gas.

Wireless TT Info Services Ltd (WTTIL), the cell tower arm of Tata Teleservices Ltd, recently placed an order for 200 units to provide power at cell towers with no or extremely unreliable electric grid service. The initial 200 GenSys systems will be installed by the end of March, and the company expects to install approximately 1000 systems by the end of 2010. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) will provide LPG fuel for the initial 200 installations, under a recently signed five-year fuel supply agreement with Plug Power.

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