Powercell and EKTOS – a cooperation in development
TagsDC-to-DC converter, Fuel cells, Production
The only byproducts from a fuel cell powered by hydrogen are water and heat – this makes hydrogen the cleanest source of energy. The Swedish company Powercell has produced fuel cell power systems for ten years, and is now also developing hydrogen-fueled generators based on fuel cell stacks. Hydrogen-fueled generators is an alternative to batteries or diesel generators at locations where reliable and clean power backup is needed and which doesn’t pollute the local environment. We have worked with Powercell for more than three years. One of the main tasks for us was to develop a DC-DC converter for their fuel cell system, and today we are assisting Powercell in preparing the DC-DC converter and other electronics for volume production.
“The main benefit with working with a relatively small company like EKTOS is that there are no long communication paths, and there’s no real hierarchy.” Rickard Nilsson, project manager at Powercell
Can’t find a suitable converter? Then make one!One of the challenges Powercell met when they started developing their fuel cell system was the lack of a DC-DC converter on the market which met their requirements: it should be compact, cost-efficient, powerful, and it should not require any forced ventilation. Since no such converter existed, Powercell decided to develop their own converter, and for that reason they got in touch with us at EKTOS. Rickard Nilsson, project manager at Powercell, found a good match in EKTOS: ”The main benefit with working with a relatively small company like EKTOS is that there are no long communication paths, and there’s no real hierarchy,” and Rickard adds: ”They are open minded regarding how to solve issues in a practical way.”
The next step: Preparing for productionPowercell’s fuel cell systems are now in the process of being upgraded and prepared for volume production. Rickard Nilsson tells that except for added functionality, achieving reduced costs and assembly time are some of the main objectives of the work related to the preparation: ”We have collected components with different functionalities on one PCB, that were wired up manually before in order to to reduce production costs.” Rickard adds that meeting legal requirements and standards also became a key point of the preparation task – testing and making compliance reports was a part of the development package we offered at EKTOS.
The strength lies in the ability to overcome issues”Definitely the DC-to-DC development has been challenging, and there have been ups and downs, and things that were not working, but everything has been sorted out in the end, and that’s very good.” Rickard says about Powercell’s cooperation with us, and he continues: ”No one has stepped back before an issues was solved. During development you always have issues and the strength is to overcome them.”
“No one has stepped back before an issues was solved. During development you always have issues and the strength is to overcome them.” Rickard Nilsson, project manager at PowercellWe hope that the hydrogen powered generator will bring good business to Powercell and we hope that our collaboration will continue for many years with new, interesting challenges.
Niels Martin Jørgensen