Fuel cell generators get a boost from ABB technology

Soaring energy prices and concerns about climate change from fossil-fuel emissions of carbon dioxide have made energy efficiency a national priority. From public policy to the boardroom, there is growing demand for electrical system units that can ensure integration and proper distribution of renewable energy.

Doosan Fuel Cell America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Doosan Corporation, which operates in 38 countries, and is the oldest company in South Korea.

A fuel cell is a simple electrochemical device that generates electricity from hydrogen fuel and oxygen. Fuel cells operate without combustion, so they are virtually pollution free. Since the fuel is converted directly to electricity and heat, a fuel cell’s total system efficiency is far higher than conventional power generation equipment.

The installation of one megawatt (MW) of fuel cells can save 60% more carbon per year than the equivalent installation of wind or solar energy. This is primarily because fuel cell emissions savings happen 24 hours a day; they don’t fade when the sun sets or the wind stops blowing.

Energy from fuel cells requires conversion before it can be consumed. At Campus Montréal, ABB will design, assemble, test and then ship the specialized, state-of-the-art Electrical System Modules (ESM) at the rate of 28 units a month. These ESMs will serve as the power conversion and control system for Doosan’s PureCell® line of clean energy fuel cells. ABB will fulfill Doosan’s order by the end of this year. At that point ABB would have made 564 ESM units for Doosan.

ABB's Electrical System Modules
ABB's Electrical System Modules

The ABB system harnesses and controls the power created in the Doosan hydrogen fuel cell stacks and makes it usable by providing energy to commercial buildings such as universities, hospitals, telecommunications facilities, data centers and more.

Fuel cells are resilient, and can provide emergency power during blackouts, as happened during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. A year before that, a major winter storm in Connecticut knocked out power for more than ten days. Doosan’s PureCell® systems provided power to three emergency shelters during that time. Fuel cells are fed by natural gas, and are free from noise and the pollution of conventional back-up power like diesel generators that sit idle most of the time while imposing incremental costs.

With assistance from ABB’s superior power and automation technologies, the PureCell® System delivers low-cost fuel cells that generate electrical power quietly and without pollution. Doosan’s partnership with ABB dates back to 2014, when ABB first started supplying electric modules for PureCell® Systems. With this contract, the fruitful partnership is set to extend into the future.

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