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PEM Fuel Cell Systems

Plug Power, LLC


Telecommunications is vital and critical to New York State industry. Telecommunication facilities such as central offices, remote terminal huts, and controlled environment vaults are susceptible to power quality variations and grid outages. Traditional telecom power supply requires AC power from the grid, rectifiers to convert the AC to 48 V DC power for sensitive switching equipment, and batteries to protect against outages. Batteries, in turn, are backed up by diesel generators. This topology has existed for 75 years, is inefficient and costly, and is associated with environmental hazards ranging from toxic materials to harmful emissions. Fuel cells convert fuel directly into electricity, have higher efficiencies than conventional fuel-burning generating technologies, and have much lower pollutant emissions.


Verizon proposes to demonstrate backup and peaking power capability with a DC fuel cell system, which will supply clean DC power directly to sensitive telecommunications equipment at a remote terminal in New York State's Capital Region.


Develop a set of customer requirements for backup and peak shaving telecommunications applications under actual load conditions. Characterize and understand load profiles at remote terminals. Demonstrate operational control of power output level of the DC Fuel Cell System to match the load. Remotely monitor electric output (kW and kWh) and energy input (H2 in SCF) and other operating characteristics of the System. Develop a set of best practices for backup power generation, including stakeholder interactions and all facets of fuel cell system operations.


Fuel cells will provide high-quality DC power to sensitive loads. The proposed technology will improve energy efficiency and reduce electric power costs for telecommunication facilities. Compared to coal-fired electricity, fuel cell distributed generation with hydrogen fuel will produce no SOx and NOx emissions and only half the carbon dioxide emissions.

Schedule and Status

This project has been completed.

Last Updated: 08/20/2012