In the past, conventional fuel cells for stationary applications had seldom been economically viable, because of the high costs compared to conventional technologies. Concerns about energy consumption and efficiency, a complex structure in conjunction with expensive maintenance and service costs, as well as the inability to expand, stood in the way of fuel cell technology making a breakthrough.

Now Rittal’s RiCell Flex fuel cell provides a classic stand-by emergency power system, together with the possibility of integration, as a transducer, of unneeded energy in the smart power grids of the future. This permits an entirely new business model for operators of emergency power and UPS systems providing reserve energy or small reserves.

Because of its modular design, the Rittal RiCell Flex fuel cell modules can simply be replaced. It also means that the downtime of equipment for repairs is minimised. RiCell Flex is scalable from 2.5kW to 50kW and can be flexibly adapted to the required power.

Other major benefits of Rittal’s fuel cell technology are the environmentally friendly, zero-emission energy conversion, as well as the high overall efficiency of up to 53 percent. The process is also very quiet, thanks to the direct conversion of chemical into electrical energy. Integration of previously unused energy sources in the grid of the future is also of particular ecological value. In many cases, around ten percent of total plant capacity is currently reserved for emergency power systems, batteries and UPS systems. These resources can be used in more economically and ecologically sensible ways in future, says the company.

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