Portable power from fuel cells

Portable gasoline and diesel powered generators are often used to provide power at outdoor events with locations distant from a grid power connection. One of the many such examples is the Daytona 500 car races in Florida.

This year the US Department of Energy, NASCAR, and Acumentrics, a manufacturer of small fuel cells, have teamed up for a pilot project using fuel cells for remote video cameras and lighting at the Daytona 500 speedway track. Acumentrics will use two 250 watt solid oxide fuel cells to power some of the remote broadcast cameras and two 1 kilowatt solid oxide fuel cells to power lights in pit row.

According to the US DOE announcement:

  • fuel cells are more efficient and quiet, making them a cleaner alternative to gasoline-powered generators.
  • fuel cell units could save more than $2,000 per race weekend through reduced fuel use.
  • fuel cell generators only have to be refuelled once per weekend, rather than every 8 – 12 hours as with a gasoline generator, improving race safety and logistics.

More details about the project from the US Department of Energy can be found at http://www.energy.gov/articles/nascar-green-gets-first-place-daytona-500

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