Home > EFOY Pro Fuel Cells from Powerbox Provide Reliable Back-up Power for Radio Communications Equipment

EFOY Pro Fuel Cells from Powerbox Provide Reliable Back-up Power for Radio Communications Equipment

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article image EFOY NZTA Install Powerbox

An EFOY Pro 2400 Duo battery back-up system for the Haast Pass Radio System in the Southern Alps of the South Island of New Zealand is now supplying back-up power to the repeaters so they operate continuously at full power.

The Problem

NZTA established the Haast Radio System in the Southern Alps of the South Island of New Zealand to provide radio communications for the Southern Highway. The repeaters were powered by two solar panels each, which recharge a battery pack housed with the repeater.

The network had not been operating at full power since installation to minimise the drain on the batteries and enable the solar panels to keep the system operating. Additionally, the reliability of solar energy declines in the winter period, with inclement weather, lack of sunshine and snow fall. Frequent maintenance had also been required to clear snow drifts from solar panels. Without a back-up power system the radio repeater network was frequently unavailable.

Functional Requirements

The primary purpose of the EFOY Pro 2400 Duo battery back-up system for the Haast Pass radio system was to supply energy to the repeaters so they operate seamlessly at full power and power is always available. The functional requirements for the battery back-up solution at this site were:

  • Ability to switch on as necessary without manual input or delay
  • Capacity to operate without support for six months at a time
  • Appropriate housing to operate in the alpine environment of the repeaters (regardless of temperature, wind, rain, snow, wildlife)
  • Capability for remote monitoring of fuel level

The Solution

The installation at two separate sites consists of an EFOY Pro 2400 Duo connected to four M28 (28L) methanol cartridges. The fuel lines utilise Duocart Switches to split the fuel lines to the fuel cartridges in order to supply adequate fuel on site to minimise fuel cartridge replacement maintenance. This solution with 4 methanol cartridges will provide the solar panels on site and the load requirements of the repeaters with approximately eight months worth of back-up power.

The Haast site has 2 x 200W solar panels, with a total of 400W solar capability. The battery bank at site is 260Ahr and is a 24V DC set up.

In the near future, NZTA will increase the load on the system to around 50A as they make full use of the equipment. With the increase towards the 50A mark the solar panels won’t be adequate to keep the batteries fully charged, EFOY Pro Fuel Cells will be used more frequently when this change is made and the weather is poor.

Fuel Cell Generator Technology

The EFOY Fuel Cell generators are based on Direct Methanol Fuel Cell technology. They use an eco-friendly catalytic process to convert methanol (methyl alcohol) into electricity without intermediate steps. This makes this technology one of the cleanest ways of generating electricity.

Connect – Switch On – Forget

EFOY Fuel Cell generators are smart energy producers that can be used to continuously and fully automatically recharge batteries. To do this, the fuel cell generator is connected directly to the battery that supplies equipment and monitors its charge level. Depending on the demand, the fuel cell generator turns on completely automatically, recharges the battery and then switches to stand-by ­without the need for maintenance or user intervention

More Power Than Solar

The EFOY Pro Fuel Cell generator supplies electricity at any time of the year or day, making it completely independent of the weather. The EFOY Pro supplies 3 to 10 times as much energy as a solar power system with the same output throughout the year. This is because to produce as much energy as an EFOY Pro 800, you would need a solar power system with an output of up to 1600 Wp, depending on the country and time of year.

Longer Autonomy Than Batteries

Batteries have a very limited autonomy. Whether it be in vehicles, on building sites or in a switching cabinet, when an application is only powered by batteries, frequent battery changes, and therefore costs required to keep the application running are extremely high. With an EFOY Pro fuel cell generator, downtime and maintenance intervals are reduced, deep-discharging of batteries is avoided and the battery’s autonomy is increased many times over.

More Eco-Friendly Than Conventional Generators

Regular generators are noisy, dirty and frequently need to be filled with fuel and have regular oil changes. EFOY Pro Fuel Cell generators are quiet, producing only small quantities of pure CO2 and guarantee a long autonomy – without the need for maintenance. EFOY Pro Fuel Cell generators can be operated without hesitation in vehicles, in nature conservation areas and generally in closed spaces.

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