20 kW Hydrogen Fuel Cell backup generator unit


2019-06-27 10.51.00

Contacts :
Jean-François Affolter, IESE, TIN, jean-francois.affolter@heig-vd.ch

Financing :
EOS Holding, FMV, Groupe-e, Romande Energie, SIG, SIL

Partners :
inSTI (HEPIA), iSi (HEVS), Swiss Hydrogen

Project description

Diesel backup units used by power grids to feed consumers during maintenance or network failures are unused 99% of the time. A "fuel cell" backup unit has many advantages: no noise, nor pollution, more "smart" regulation of the networks according to the penetration of stochastic energies (PV, wind power), more flexibility.

This concept allows the aggregation of units when they are not used for backup operations and their simultaneous production during periods of high demand -or excessive market prices. While in periods of excess energy or interesting market prices, it allows to produce hydrogen using electrolyzersinstalled in the warehouses where the units are stored ("power to gas" technique).

The unit delivers three phases (3 x 230V), is unbalanced capable (up to 8 kW per phase) and can function in island mode or in assistance to an existing grid. It is powered by two 10 kW fuel cells.

The backup unit offers 15 hours of autonomy at a power of 20 kW. (825 liters of H2@ 250 bars)



  • AC Output : 3x230 VAC, 32 A, 50 Hz
  • Fuel Cells : 2x 10 kW PEM 
  • Batteries : 10 kWh lead acid
  • Hydrogen tank : 825 Nl @ 250 bars
  • Automomy : 15 hours at full power