Smart Grid

January 14, 2013

Partnership to Power Off-Grid, Wireless Telecom in Sub-Saharan Africa

The future is getting brighter all the time for the “Dark Continent.” This week, Hy9, a provider of point-of-use hydrogen generation products for fuel cells, established a strategic partnership with Pretoria, South Africa-based Clean Energy (News - Alert) Investments, through which the two organizations will deploy stand-alone, uninterruptible power systems throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

The systems are intended to support wireless communications, independent of the grid.

Clean Energy Investments (CEI) was established in 2007 as part of the South African Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Research, Development and Innovation Strategy—focused on creating sustainable hydrogen end-to-end standby power solutions for the African Market.

Uninterruptible power is critical to maintaining a reliable communications infrastructure. Power disturbances (outages, sags, swells) are the most common cause of communications downtime. CEI has worked extensively with Folsom, California-based Altergy (News - Alert) Systems, which designs, manufactures, markets, and deploys rugged, modular, scalable fuel cell systems that generate power at the point-of-use.

Altergy’s unique design for its Freedom Power line of products enables fuel cells to be manufactured in high volume at low cost, making widespread deployment feasible.

Altergy likes to say that its Freedom Power line of products provides independence “from the grid, from foreign oil, from traditional energy solutions, from batteries, and from pollution.” Freedom Power Systems have reliably and cost-effectively batteries and generators in mission critical applications such as telecom switching sites, wireless cell towers, digital loop carriers, direct-attached storage, backhaul, cable TV repeaters, and emergency response – around the globe.

Clean Energy Investments CEO Gavin Coetzer, commented, "The unique conditions in South Africa and Africa have created a market ready for the adoption of hydrogen fuels. As compressed hydrogen is not always readily available in the majority of African countries, we have partnered with Hy9 to produce hydrogen on-site for our Altergy fuel cells. The integrated solution will allow us to promote fuel cells beyond the reach of the present compressed hydrogen distribution network."

Gary Clarke, Hy9's president and CEO, said, "Telecommunications, data centers, and other mission-critical applications benefit greatly from the uninterrupted, on-demand power made possible by fuel cell systems, coupled to on-site hydrogen generation. We are excited to team up with Clean Energy Investments to bring this power system to Sub-Saharan Africa. With their substantial knowledge of the communications industry in Africa, Clean Energy Investments is well positioned to meet the requirements of customers requiring cost-effective, reliable power."

Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based Hy9 and Clean Energy Investments will work together to integrate fuel cell stationary power systems with Hy9's HGS onsite hydrogen generators for turnkey backup power systems suitable for African markets – including locations with no grid power.

The Hy9 fuel processor, or reformer, converts a liquid fuel (in this case methanol and water) into hydrogen for use with fuel cell power systems, eliminating the nearly constant supply of hydrogen cylinders required for off-grid locations.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker