Hydrogenics Reduces Operations Costs by Putting
Test Units to Work
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by Ali Rusta-Sallehy and Jane Dalziel, Hydrogenics Corporation

There are many people who advocate that if you want to sell something to others that you should use it yourself. New NHA member, Hydrogenics Corporation, has taken this to heart at their operations in Mississauga, Canada.

Like many fuel cell technology developers, Hydrogenics’ R&D consumes quantities of hydrogen gas in the course of testing its fuel cell stacks and systems. Hydrogenics’ test facility, one of the largest in North America, is fully outfitted with a range of FCATS test stations - Hydrogenics’ first commercial product and a business that continues to operate under the Greenlight name.  At times, the Company has as many as 15 FCATS running tests on stacks of up to 40 kW each, at the same time as up to 6 system test benches are testing Hydrogenics’ 10 kW HyPM™ power modules. At such times the Company consumes, on average, 75 kg of hydrogen per day from compressed hydrogen bottles parked at the side of the building.

FCATS testing diagram
The FCATS testing diagram.

With the advent of Hydrogenics’ hydrogen generation capabilities and products, came the opportunity to meet some of the Company’s hydrogen needs using the hydrogen generated by in-house generators under development. At this time, a 65 kg/day HyLYZER generator based on Hydrogenics’ proprietary PEM electrolysis technology is supplementing the test facility’s hydrogen demand. Future plans include introducing hydrogen from a 50 kW reformer-based energy station that the Company has also developed and which continues to undergo testing at the Company’s facility.

The hydrogen generated on-site is at least of the same quality as currently purchased hydrogen, however, in order to fully test its affects on fuel cells and fuel cell systems, it is currently used in a designated area of the test facility. In addition to supplying test stations, the hydrogen is also used to refuel fuel cell vehicles that the Company operates for demonstration purposes.

Hydrogenics has also now installed electronics on 6 of their FCATS machines that allow the power generated by the test stations to be put back on the grid, effectively reducing the amount of electricity the company has to purchase from the local utility. The Company now offers this same capability to its test station customers. Combined, these two operations initiatives reduce the Mississauga facility’s expenses and contribute to Hydrogenics’ corporate sustainability agenda.  The Company hopes that, by the end of the year, the Mississauga facility will make full use of all the hydrogen and electricity that is generated on-site. ©2003. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of the National Hydrogen Association.
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