Internal combustion engines have dominated portable power sources for over a century, but their limitations are becoming clearer. KW-scale IC engines are heavy, leading to concerns over access and health and safety. They are noisy and cannot be used in confined areas. Also running costs are high, especially when maintenance is taken into account.
At the same time, electrochemical power sources such as high performance batteries and fuel cells, are reaching the market. At the present time, they offer a strong consumer proposition in certain niche markets which value portability, safety and zero emissions. Benefitting from the cost savings in other markets such as electric vehicles and grid power storage, in the long term we believe electrochemical power devices will win a very large market share over the incumbent IC technology.
At present both fuel cells and batteries face cost challenges. Our hybridisation technology significantly reduces the cost of portable power, by combining the high power capabilities of batteries with the long duration of hydrogen fuel cells.
The hybridisation architecture – both hardware and software – has been designed to be very flexible. We can hybridise any two power sources from 10W to 1000W. It is simple to reconfigure; we took a fuel cell of novel architecture, and within one morning had the prototype up and running within the manufacturers specification.