Connecticut Firm Awarded Solar/Fuel Cell Project

Proton Energy Systems, Inc. announced the award of a US$375,000 contract to develop a 1 kW regenerative solar/Proton Exchange Membrane, or PEM, fuel cell demonstration system. The contract, with Jacobs Sverdrup Technology, Inc., a subcontractor to the U.S. Navy, is to support testing at the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake, California.

Wallingford, Connecticut – January 27, 2003 [] The demonstration system will integrate Proton’s regenerative fuel cell system, including a hydrogen generator, hydrogen storage tanks, a PEM fuel cell, and a Navy supplied solar photovoltaic array. The hydrogen generator, a key module in this project, is capable of producing hydrogen from water using electricity directly generated by the solar array. During a six-month test program, the system will supply power during daylight hours using its solar panels, while simultaneously using some of the solar electricity to generate hydrogen and store the hydrogen in tanks. During nighttime hours, the system will regenerate the hydrogen produced from sunlight and create clean electrical power through a PEM fuel cell with the only emission being water, which is recycled to create hydrogen from the sun again. The goal of the project is to demonstrate grid independent, constant power output using a Renewable Energy system capable of remote operation. Other project goals include the elimination of water replenishment and the elimination of a battery or other bridging device for a seamless transition from solar to fuel cell power. According to Proton Energy System’s President and CEO Walter “Chip” Schroeder, “We are delighted to have this opportunity to design, develop and test a solar/PEM regenerative system. This project will be a demonstration of a truly sustainable energy system. In the near term, it could solve the vexing challenge of providing electrical power to remote locations and ultimately has the potential to reduce our dependence upon imported oil and increase homeland security.” Proton will be responsible for the integration of this system and will work in conjunction with Northern Power Systems, a leader in reliable power generation, which includes Renewable Energy applications. The system will be shipped to the Navy’s China Lake facility later this year.
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