With rising costs in electricity generation, increased demand and frequent ‘black outs’ compounded by cable theft, the search for renewable energy power sources is becoming increasingly urgent. Rand Technical Services (RTS,) based in Tshwane, has added an exciting new product to its portfolio: a hydrogen-based ‘battery’ robust enough for the harshest African conditions.
The ‘hydrogen, battery’ created and manufactured by Italian ‘clean technology’ company ACTA, presents a viable alternative to conventional emergency power sources, particularly in areas where electricity supply is unreliable. “The product, ACTA Power, has been developed to act as a stand-by power supply in cases where there is erratic power supply. The technology is a back-up power system in battery form, using a renewable natural resource – hydrogen - which is stored at pressure,” explains RTS’s Chairman Ian Fraser.
This is relatively new technology, and we are very excited to introduce it to this country where we believe it has significant potential.” The battery uses technology that incorporates an electrolyser which generates hydrogen gas by the electrolysis of water, extendable gas storage facilities and a fuel cell. This will convert the hydrogen – combined with ambient oxygen – back into electricity when required. RTS, the African agent for ACTA, specialises in offering innovative technologies and solutions to industrial challenges - ensuring that products, which are frequently imported, are suitable for frequently demanding pan- African conditions.
“The ACTA Power hydrogen battery is a robust, stand-alone unit which is suitable for the African climate and environment. It has a wide application, but would be particularly suited to smaller installations. For example, a telecommunications installation in a remote location, where renewable energy resources are used, such as solar and wind,” says Fraser. “As a replacement of normal stand-by power supply, it is extremely economical, particularly in comparison to a diesel electricity-generation system. ACTA hydrogen batteries are also cost-effective because of their durability. These units operate for 5 to 10 years and more, without needing replacing, and run completely on renewable resources.
Additionally, being virtually ‘theftproof’, the hydrogen battery is advantageous in areas where theft, especially of generators and batteries, can be a real problem. This adds to its cost benefits.” The hydrogen power summit - H2 SA 2014 - held in February, brought RTS in contact with ACTA and its cutting-edge electrolyser technology. The summit highlighted the potential of hydrogen as a potentially emissions-free alternative fuel source, and showcased current and new hydrogen production technologies.
“At RTS, we are very excited about ACTA’s new hydrogen battery technology. As an effective and economical alternative to fuel-based back-up power sources, we believe it has a strong future in this country and beyond our borders,” Fraser concludes.