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Test system characterizes Zinc-air batteries FuelCon has designed a test system for the special requirements of zinc-air batteries, dubbed the Evaluator series, which provides both material characterization and life cycle testing in a power range up to 5kW. The test system is equipped with multiple storage tanks for liquid media. This allows circulation of the zinc paste either through one storage tank (continuous flow) or via two different tanks (single pass) when life cycle test are performed. In order to ensure a constant concentration the tanks are continuously purged with nitrogen. All critical test system components such as tanks, pipes, valves and Sensors are made of plastic (PFA, PVDF, PTFE). This avoids a corrosion of the components by aggressive media. The Evaluator testing system also boasts extensive safety features for protecting persons, test item and laboratory environment. Fuelcon www.fuelcon.com Methanol fuel cell system addresses telecom backup power needs The methanol-based ElectraGen-ME backup power fuel cell is what Ballard Power Systems has announced as its next-generation system for use in the telecom market. The product is fuelled by methanol and features a number of enhancements that further improve reliability, durability as well as ease of maintenance and servicing. From a reliability perspective, the nextgeneration product is said to offer more than 25% increase in system mean time between failures (MTBF) and a three-fold increase in cycle life through upgrades to the fuel processor module. Durability has also been extended through the increased use of corrosion-resistant coatings on many system components as well as improvements to the fuel level sensor and fluid flow paths. Finally, servicing and maintenance have been made easier through added functionality in system firmware, along with better component access and labelling. These methanol fuelled systems include a fuel reformer that converts HydroPlus (a methanol-water liquid fuel mixture) into hydrogen gas to power the fuel cell. Ballard Power Systems www.ballard.com Dishwasher-sized fuel cells designed to be ten-fold cheaper Maryland-based start-up Redox Power Systems struck a partnership deal with researchers at the University of Maryland to commercialize a potentially game-changing distributed generation technology, with plans to bring to market a fuel cell that is about one-tenth the size and one-tenth the cost of currently commercial fuel cells by 2014. The breakthrough solid oxide fuel cell technology is the brainchild of Eric Wachsman, the director of the University of Maryland’s Energy Research Center. Redox says that it will provide safe, efficient, reliable, uninterrupted power, on–site and optionally off the grid, at a price competitive with current energy sources. “Every business or home should be able to safely generate its own energy,” said Warren Citrin, CEO and director of Redox. “We currently rely upon a vulnerable electrical grid. The best way to decrease that vulnerability is through distributed energy, that is, by making your own energy on-site. We are building systems to do that, with an emphasis on efficiency and affordability. These should be common appliances.” Redox’s PowerSERG 2-80, also called “The Cube,” connects to a natural gas line and electrochemically converts methane to electricity. The first generation has a nameplate capacity of 25 kilowatts, which can power a gas station or small grocery store, and is roughly the size of a dishwasher. The system can run at a 80% efficiency when used to provide both heat and power. Redox Power Systems www.redoxpowersystems.com 1-kW power supply and charger in one unit for 400-V ultracaps PULS has introduced the PAS395 1 kW Power Supply and Charger which can be used as a regular Power Supply with an adjustable output voltage between 360-V and 460-V or as a Charger for EDLC capacitors (Electrical Double Layer Capacitors). The charging method is a constant current – constant voltage followed by a float charging mode. The output is protected with a serial diode to avoid return currents from the capacitors. To ensure that the capacitors never become overcharged, a redundant control circuit monitors the end-of-charge voltage and switches the output off in case of high voltage. The internal fan which starts running when necessary, allows the unit to be used in any mounting orientation at altitudes as high as 6000 m. The unit operates from AC 230 V mains, includes an electronic inrush current limitation and an active power factor correction circuit. The unparalleled high efficiency of 94.4% reduces the heat in the cabinet and achieves the true MTBF figures resulting in the long service life of the unit. Additional features include, wide operational temperature range from -40 to +65°C, light weight of only 2.3 kg, small size of only 310x154x80mm, and the capability for flange mounting allows for many types of applications. A galvanically isolated inhibit input stops the charging mode and the ‘Fully-Charged’ and an ‘Output-OK’ relay contacts allow a remote monitoring of the unit. Using super-capacitors rather than batteries to control turbine pitch is a major step forward for the wind power industry and the PSA395 will play a role in improving efficiency and reliability PULS www.pulspower.com www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2013 45


EETE SEPT 2013
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