FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) relating to solar power systems, fuel cells, product warranties, etc. Please choose a category below.

A fuel cell is a galvanic cell that converts the energy created by the chemical reaction between a constant stream of fuel and an oxidant into electrical energy. The underlying principle is an electrochemical process that is also known as “cold combustion”. It is in principle the reversal of electrolysis. A fuel cell is not an energy store but a converter that generates electricity. The energy required to produce electricity comes from the fuel.

We integrate fuel cells into insulated and engineered enclosures which allow them to operate in ambient temperatures as low as -40°C and as high as 50°C . Without integration a fuel cell can operate at temperatures as low as -20°C.

Fuel cells are an ideal solution for remote power needs as they are:

  • Inherently reliable
  • Low maintenance
  • Small footprint
  • Very price competitive
  • Offer a wide range of voltages
  • Extremely efficient
  • Very green (low emissions)
  • Really quiet
  • Can support a wide range of loads (the sweet spot being 3kW or less)
  • Equipped with full remote monitoring capability

For critical loads or greater power needs, we use a hybrid combination of solar power, wind and/or fuel cells.

The prime source of power will always be solar, meaning, when solar is available it will charge the batteries as much as it can. In the event that solar cannot keep up, this is where the fuel cells come into play. There is a preset range that the fuel cell monitors the battery bank. When the battery bank reaches the low voltage, the fuel cell turns on and charges the battery bank until the battery bank has reached its fully charged state. At this point the fuel cell ramps down and continues to monitor the battery bank until it is needed again.

Solar works great when solar is available. We often work with customers in environments where solar is not readily available year round (Vancouver where it is overcast, and Fort McMurray where daylight is only available for 6.5 hours in the winter). The issue with solar is that you have to implement a huge solar array (up to 40x the load) and even bigger battery bank. Our hybrid systems insulate this issue in the winter when solar is unpredictable by use of the methanol fuel cells.

Our hybrid systems offer many benefits to those who currently use diesel generators. Diesel generators are extremely loud and emit a lot of emissions, our hybrid systems operate nearly silently and produce only water and trace amounts of CO2. Also, diesel generators are extremely inefficient, they typically only last about 3 days on a full 115L tank of fuel. Our hybrid systems, at the very least, with no solar and two 28L methanol cartridges will last 28 days. In the spring/summer/fall they can last months at a time with solar.

The Oorja Model T-1 is a liquid fuel cell that operates as a battery charger for a wide variety of stationary applications, including wireless base stations. The Model T-1 allows existing batteries to extend their length of service during power outages at a lower cost than with other options. Refueling infrastructure takes little space and is inexpensive and safe because the fuel is a common industrial liquid, methanol, which reduces CO2 emissions by 30 to 60 percent.

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) are an electrochemical device that converts hydrogen and carbon monoxide from hydrocarbon fuels, like natural gas or propane, into electricity. The process is driven by the flow of oxygen ions from a cathode to an anode through an electrolyte that is comprised of solid zirconia. When these ions combine with hydrogen and carbon monoxide from the fuel, electrons are released to an external circuit. This process is replicated many times in the fuel cell, in arrays or stacks, and it results in highly efficient power generation with virtually no greenhouse gas emissions.

There is some basic maintenance that should be done annually (e.g. inspect and replace filters as necessary) but the major maintenance interval is replacing the bundle (also referred to as a “stack”) every 24 months. The stack is warrantied for 24 months and may last longer, but for budgetary purposes you should plan to replace it every 2 years.

The EFOY Pro fuel cell converts the fuel in the fuel cartridge direct into electrical current, with byproducts of heat, water and CO2 in amounts of less than a human breathing. Thanks to this direct conversion, which is performed with no moving parts, completely silently and without creating any pollutants, the fuel cell is extremely efficient, clean and environmentally friendly.

EFOY fuel cells are typically paired with solar arrays that offset the amount that the fuel cell needs to run. In a well-balanced system, the solar array is sized to power the load during the summer months and into the shoulder seasons, and the fuel cell ramps up to cover the load in the winter months. We usually aim for a balance where the EFOY runs about 1500-2000 hours per year giving the fuel cell a maintenance interval of approximately 2.5-3 years (5000 hours). At the outset of each project Ensol conducts a Power Analysis to size the system and estimate fuel consumption and maintenance intervals.

Yes, we can. Our background in R&D gives us a high degree of flexibility to develop customized solutions to meet your specific needs. We work with the latest technology to develop innovative solutions for remote power, surveillance, communications and safety. Our systems are used throughout industry to save time, money and to improve safety.

There is some basic maintenance that should be done annually (e.g. inspect and replace filters as necessary) but the major maintenance interval is replacing the bundle (also referred to as a “stack”) every 24 months. The stack is warrantied for 24 months and may last longer, but for budgetary purposes you should plan to replace it every 2 years.

EFOY fuel cells are typically paired with solar arrays that offset the amount that the fuel cell needs to run. In a well-balanced system, the solar array is sized to power the load during the summer months and into the shoulder seasons, and the fuel cell ramps up to cover the load in the winter months. We usually aim for a balance where the EFOY runs about 1500-2000 hours per year giving the fuel cell a maintenance interval of approximately 2.5-3 years (5000 hours). At the outset of each project Ensol conducts a Power Analysis to size the system and estimate fuel consumption and maintenance intervals.

Yes. We warranty all components of our packages for 1 year from date of purchase. Our trailer packages have a 5 year warranty on structural trailer frame, 1 year on all custom fabricated parts, and OEM warranty on all OEM parts. EFOY Pro fuel cells however, maintain the manufacturer warranty of 1 year or 4500 operating hours. The Atrex fuel cell stack is warrantied for 2 years.

For critical loads or greater power needs, we use a hybrid combination of solar power, wind and/or fuel cells.

The prime source of power will always be solar, meaning, when solar is available it will charge the batteries as much as it can. In the event that solar cannot keep up, this is where the fuel cells come into play. There is a preset range that the fuel cell monitors the battery bank. When the battery bank reaches the low voltage, the fuel cell turns on and charges the battery bank until the battery bank has reached its fully charged state. At this point the fuel cell ramps down and continues to monitor the battery bank until it is needed again.

Solar works great when solar is available. We often work with customers in environments where solar is not readily available year round (Vancouver where it is overcast, and Fort McMurray where daylight is only available for 6.5 hours in the winter). The issue with solar is that you have to implement a huge solar array (up to 40x the load) and even bigger battery bank. Our hybrid systems insulate this issue in the winter when solar is unpredictable by use of the methanol fuel cells.

Our hybrid systems offer many benefits to those who currently use diesel generators. Diesel generators are extremely loud and emit a lot of emissions, our hybrid systems operate nearly silently and produce only water and trace amounts of CO2. Also, diesel generators are extremely inefficient, they typically only last about 3 days on a full 115L tank of fuel. Our hybrid systems, at the very least, with no solar and two 28L methanol cartridges will last 28 days. In the spring/summer/fall they can last months at a time with solar.

Charge controllers are another important component of a solar system, as they are prevent overcharging or over discharging of the batteries. These devices provide reliable solar battery charging and are available for a variety of amperage and volts.

Batteries are an integral part of any efficient solar power system as they store the energy produced by the solar panels, allowing the energy to be used as needed. We carry Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries specifically designed for solar applications. These batteries can withstand repeated cycles of up to 300 at 100% discharge and many times that at shallower depth. They are maintenance free, leak and spill proof, can operate at -40°C, do not out gas when charging and have superior performance.

We carry a wide range of solar panels from 275 watts to 400 watts, poly-crystalline to mono-cystalline, general purpose to hazardous rated. We use only the highest quality solar panels which offer superior efficiency and comprehensive warranties. High transmission glass is used to take advantage of increased light diffusion and snow-shedding abilities. An anodized aluminum frame creates a rigid body to support the module in any industrial application. These solar panels can operate in temperatures ranging between -40°C to 85°C.

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