Fuel Cells Protect Canadian Pipeline Valves

By Mike Osenga19 June 2018

Simark Controls Ltd., a subsidiary of SFC Energy, a provider of hybrid power solutions to the stationary and mobile power generation markets, has received an order for EFOY Pro fuel cells from oil and gas services provider in Canada.  The oil and gas services provider uses the fuel cells hybridized with solar modules in a weatherproof EFOY ProCabinet to power of off-grid actuator valves on liquid pipelines. The order amounts to approx. CAD$400,000.

According to the manufacturer, EFOY Pro fuel cells are intelligent power generators that can be used to continuously and fully automatically recharge batteries. The fuel cell is connected directly to the battery supplying the consumer and monitoring its charge status. Depending on requirements, the fuel cell switches on automatically, recharges the battery and then returns to standby mode – without maintenance or user intervention required.

The company’s model EFOY Pro 800, for example, delivers an output of 45 W and is also available as a Duo version (pictured) with two fuel connectors for two EFOY fuel cartridges. Using the DuoCartSwitch, up to four fuel cartridges can be connected to one EFOY Pro 800 Duo for even more autonomy.

In the past, the customer used standalone solar modules or thermoelectric generators (TEGs). Both technologies, Simark said, have disadvantages in cold temperatures and harsh weather conditions, leading to possible power interruptions and system downtime. Simark’s hybridized fuel cell/solar power systems is designed to eliminate these reliability issues.

“The customer tested many systems and chose our EFOY hybrid solution based on their decision criteria being heavily weighted to absolute power dependability and performance”, says Derek L’Hirondelle, vice president of process automation & energy at Simark. “Their fuel consumption is significantly lower; fuel cells utilize significantly less fuel. This saves fuel costs and expensive trips to remote and difficult to access locations. The customer also appreciates the very small carbon footprint of our systems: They feature a massive reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions.”

“Long system autonomy is a major USP of our fuel cell solutions”, says Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy. “Over the last year we have been able to win major orders from several new oil and gas customers because no other technology can match the reliability of our systems in harsh weather conditions. We also see a growing awareness for environmentally friendly solutions in the industry. With our advanced energy, instrumentation, and automation product portfolio we are in an excellent position for growth.”

Simark delivers the EFOY Pro fuel cell in a variety of fully integrated plug & play hybrid solutions, engineered to customer specifications. Top sellers in the Simark portfolio are customized EFOY ProCabinets for stand-alone operation of remote SCADA, wellhead or telecommunication tower equipment, and mobile EFOY ProTrailers for security, surveillance and public events applications.

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