For the many remotely situated communities in the world, outside the reach of the electricity distribution infrastructure, diesel generators are often the primary source of power. But with the rapidly escalating costs of fossil fuels and growing concerns over CO2 emissions and climate change, these distant communities are starting to shift their thinking towards solutions based on renewably generated power.
One solution that would certainly grab their interest will soon be on its way from Denmark to Canada in a standard 20 foot shipping container. Its contents are hydrogen and fuel cell power units from Dantherm Power, based in Skive in Jutland, and the customer is Powertech Labs Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian utility company BC Hydro. The news is reported in a press release on Dantherm Power's website
BC Hydro is currently running a renewable energy pilot project at Bella Coola, a small, remote community located on the coast of British Columbia, in western Canada. The idea being explored is to use surplus electricity from the hydroelectric power station to produce hydrogen, which can be stored and subsequently used to power fuel cells when the hydroelectric plant is unable to meet demand.
Dantherm Power already provides fuel cell based UPS (uninterruptible power supplies) to IT and telecom network suppliers. These same power supplies will be used to increase the utilisation of the hydroelectric plant in Bella Coola, at the same time reducing the use of local diesel generators.
Hydrogen and fuel cell technology represents an environmentally sound, CO2-neutral solution to help enable renewable power usage in remote communities.
MD of Dantherm Power Per Albæk says in the press release: “We are extremely pleased with this order because it could lead to a potentially huge market opening up". He also notes that BC Hydro is examining using fuel cell-based generation in other applications where standby diesel generators would be replaced.