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BOC Updates Fuel-cell Powered Portable Generator for Lighting Industry Print E-mail
Wednesday, 08 June 2011 08:02

HymeraHymera is the UK’s first commercially viable, low-carbon portable power source. This new fuel-cell powered electricity generator brings the benefits of hydrogen fuel to small-scale, energy-efficient technologies like lighting, especially in locations where there is no access to grid-supplied electricity.

The Hymera is now available for a range of new applications, including a new very high efficiency LED floodlight with an efficiency of 100 lumens / Watt light with variable spread. A single cylinder should last about 20 hours with this load. A conventional diesel generator being used to generate the same amount of light with conventional tungsten halogen would consume about 20 litres of diesel in the same 20 hours.

“As part of a leading global gases and engineering group, BOC is committed to finding innovative solutions to the energy needs of the future. Hymera is part of this drive. One Hymera unit can provide enough power to light up a n area the size of a tennis court, or 40 metres of rail track. Hymera has already been successfully tested for outdoor event lighting and also in the construction and security industry. It has potential applications anywhere where a clean, efficient, safe and virtually silent portable power source would be beneficial, from environmental monitoring in sensitive habitats to the leisure industry.”  Stewart Dow, Packaged Energy Manager, BOC

"White Light Ltd is one of the UK's largest live event and theatre lighting suppliers and we have been using a number of Hymera fuel cell power generators, built into a self-contained off-grid lighting system, over the last year. The Hymera is easy to set-up and operate and, overall, the units have performed very well and reliability has been more than acceptable. Our customer base has responded positively to the innovative technology, finding many applications for it. We will stay involved in this technology and look forward to seeing how it develops as it will continue to open up a new range of applications and capabilities." David Isherwood, Hire & Technical Director, White Light Ltd

About fuel cells
Hydrogen fuel cells are almost silent, so they can be used in situations where noise is an issue – for example train tracks close to residential areas at night. Reducing the exposure of employees to continuous high levels of noise is also an increasingly important concern for many construction companies. Because they do not emit any potentially harmful substances (like carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide) the Hymera can be used in places where these types of emissions could become problematic.Fuel-cells have been talked about for many years as a power source of the future: the new Hymera makes it available for today’s off-grid tasks. Being hydrogen-powered, the only emissions are water or water vapour. Unlike traditional diesel or petrol generators, the Hymera unit from BOC, a member of The Linde Group, is efficient, clean and quiet – and has a much lower carbon footprint. Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity from the reaction of hydrogen with oxygen from the air. Like a battery, a fuel cell employs an electrochemical process that produces no sound and is very efficient. BOC have developed a lightweight hydrogen cylinder to go with the Hymera, keeping overall weight as low as possible.The other great advantage of fuel cells is that they can be built to virtually any scale (from a few Watts to a several Megawatts) while still maintaining their very high efficiency. By contrast, petrol and diesel generators (the smallest is just under 1kW) have very poor efficiency at low and part load – less than 5% in some cases. So there is no benefit in using a high efficiency floodlight rather than a conventional tungsten floodlight with a petrol or diesel generator – the fuel consumption per hour would only be reduced by a small amount. While other technologies, such as lighting, computing and visual displays, have made big improvements in efficiency (i.e. they do the same work as before but use much less energy), petrol and diesel generators have not downsized to match the reduced power requirement of many loads.

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