MUNICH, Germany A top issue at the Hannover Industry Fair (HMI) are innovative power sources. Under the umbrella of the Hannover Fair, a special trade show is dedicated to this topic. For the time being however, industrial designs of mobile fuel cells remain a vision for the future.
At the "Energy" exposition, manufacturers such as CFC Solutions GmbH, Ballard Power Systems, BASF Fuel Cell, Schunk Bahn- und Industrietechnik GmbH or StatOil' Hydrogen subsidiary show their latest achievements. Already the selection of these names hints not necessarily to small devices designed to power electronic appliances. CFC for instance exhibits its HotModule, according to the vendor's claims presently the world's largest high-temperature fuel cell. The device has the size of a little locomotive and produces 245 killowatts of electrical energy.
A bit more handy is the Electro7 hydrogen-based generator from Electro Power Systems (ElectroPS). With the rack-mountable 19" device, the Torino, Italy, based company aims at shelters for the telecom industry or back-up power solutions or UPS applications in small server centers. The Electro7 delivers up to 7kilowatts and offers an instant-on feature, the company says. It converts hydrogen into pure water, generating electric energy and less than 10 kilowatts of thermal energy.
While for the time being this seems to be the smallest exhibit in the fuel cell arena, the German Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies (VDE) is sure that the future will belong to portable fuel cells. "The experts assume that fuel cells soon will be deployed as mobile power supplies for laptops, mobile phones and camcorders", the engineering association predicts in a statement. "On the basis past experience new developments will quickly find their way into international markets provided the cost and quality targets are met."
The experts did not provide a timeline.