ISRAELI COMPANY GenCell Energy is offering to replace diesel-fired power generation sets with zero-emission technology fuel cells that run on hydrogen and guarantee reliable and long-duration power to offices such as banks, hospitals, and utility substations.
“It’s cleaner, it’s much more reliable and in many cases, it’s much more cost-effective. None of us can ignore the impact of fossil fuel on global warming and one of the things that we should do is to try to stop the usage of diesel,” Rami Reshef, chief executive officer of GenCell, said in an interview.
“So we came out with the kind of technology that has been used in space in order to power the space stations. It’s completely green, no emission at all, no noise, no vibration, can be worked indoor, outdoor on rooftop and can ensure you almost 100% of power reliability,” he added.
GenCell plans to bring the technology from space to earth, and invested time and money to make it affordable. Aside from being clean, it has no moving parts unlike a regular diesel combustion engine.
Mr. Reshef said the technology could work in the Philippines, which suffers some of the worst and most extreme weather incidents in the world. The large-scale regular use of diesel generators during outages only compounds environmental issues that impact the local climate, he added.
“With our system, it’s electrochemistry process between gases. So there’s no moving parts. You can control and monitor a fleet of thousands of units for one place, think about organizations that are spread all over the Philippines,” he said.
Established in 2011, GenCell’s global team of experts have continuously innovated the company’s portfolio of fuel cells with patented technologies to provide reliable, clean and affordable hydrogen-based back-up power for a wide range of industries.
The company estimates that the Philippines has at least 20,000 automated teller machines (ATM) across the country, including 8,000 on islands, thus requiring the need for reliable backup power to process transactions during outages.
GenCell has signed up local firm Amorele Technology, Inc. to distribute its products in the Philippines. These products include GenCell G5 long-duration UPS, an alkaline fuel cell that runs on hydrogen cylinders to provide critical backup for indoor and outdoor industrial applications such as telecommunication towers and bank ATMs.
Amorele will also market GenCell’s G5RX utility backup power solution, which comes with a protective shelter built nd certified to withstand 7.2 magnitude earthquakes.
GenCells’s A5 off-grid power solution will also be sold here. The facility is said to be the world’s only ammonia-based off-grid fuel cell power solution. It extracts hydrogen from liquid ammonia and boasts a cost of ownership that is lower than a traditional diesel generator. The A5 is ideal for rural and remote communities and can provide enough fuel for an entire year.
“We’ve decided to start with mission-critical businesses,” Mr. Reshef said, referring those that cannot tolerate a power outage.
For instance, a hotel can avail of GenCell’s facility but use it only for critical elements, such as elevators, emergencies lights, IT and TV in the rooms.
“We’re not backing up the entire hotel, but you will have enough essence in the hotel that will keep the hotel up and running,” he said.
Mr. Reshef said the company was working with local fuel providers to supply the gases — oxygen and hydrogen — used by its system.
“Oxygen we’re taking from the ambient air, and hydrogen we need to supply. We supply hydrogen in two forms — gas as in hydrogen and the liquid as in ammonia,” he said.
Amorele’s Alain M. Caparanga said for the past few months he had been talking to different big companies in Metro Manila, including hotels, the light rail operator to power up its signaling systems, and the civil aviation authority for its runway and air-traffic control.
“Especially, hospitals because it’s critical for them to make sure their equipment especially in the emergency room that it will keep running even when there’s brownout or power fluctuation,” he said.
Mr. Reshef said he expects GenCell to build its footprint in the Philippines and create the “right awareness.” He said he sees the company’s presence to go “rapidly up” next year.
“My plan in the future is to — the fact that we’re bringing GenCell to the Philippines, it’s not only for the Philippines alone, although the Philippines is a huge market for us — I think we can differently use the Philippines as a hub for Southeast Asia,” he said.
“If the market will take off, we will move some of our production lines to here, we’ll produce it over here, some of the equipment, some of the core elements will be produced here. This will allow us to reduce the price, improve the accessibility to the market, and then we can look outside the Philippines — countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and others,” he added. — Victor V. Saulon