WHAT IS A FUEL CELL?
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that generates electricity by converting the chemical energy stored in fuel to electrical and thermal energy. Instead of burning fuel, as in the case of an internal combustion engine, it generates power using an electrochemical reaction. The byproducts of the electrochemical reaction are pure water, carbon dioxide, and heat.
ARE ALL FUEL CELLS THE SAME?
No, there are many different types of fuel cells. Some of the key differences are in the type fuel they use, the way they are built, and their operating conditions such as temperature and environment. Uses range from powering small consumer devices to generating electricity for power plants. The application dictates the type of fuel cell required.
WHAT FUELS ARE USED IN FUEL CELLS?
A variety of fuels can be used, including hydrogen, methanol, ethanol, butane, natural gas, ammonia, and liquefied petroleum gas. Energy from landfills, biomass, coal, wood, and agricultural waste can also be used to create the fuel. Because they function on such diverse input, fuel cells are a logical choice to transition from current combustion-based technologies to renewable energy sources.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FUEL CELL TECHNOLOGY?
— Pollution Reduction: Fuel cells lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce other environmental pollutants. CO2, CO, NOx, SOx, particulates, hydrocarbons, and other emissions are reduced with all fuel cell technologies.
— Lower Costs: In many cases fuel cells produce power at lower cost than traditional fossil fuel competition. This is increasingly true as the cost of fossil fuels escalates.
— Reliability: Fuel cells provide a reliable source of power for applications subject to power interruptions.
— Efficiency: Fuel cells operate at 40% to 80% efficiency, depending on the type of technology deployed. This often represents a substantial increase in efficiency as compared to burning fossil fuel to generate power.
— Fuel Availability: Fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource and will one day be depleted. Many fuels used to power fuel cells are renewable or represent untapped resources that augment our fossil fuel reserves.
— Quiet, Clean, Modular, Durable: Many fuel cells operate with minimal noise. They can be modular, compact, and durable. This makes them ideal candidates for many applications that are removed from the grid or where traditional power delivery is expensive.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FUEL CELL AND A BATTERY?
A battery chemically stores and releases electricity, while a fuel cell produces energy through the electrochemical reaction of a fuel and air. A battery runs out of power and requires recharging. A fuel cell, however, continues to function and produce power as long as fuel and oxygen are supplied.
ARE FUEL CELLS A RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE?
Fuel cells themselves are not a power source: rather they use a fuel to produce electrical power. If the fuel is obtained from renewable sources, then fuel cells can be an important part of the renewable energy chain.
WHAT TYPE OF FUEL CELL DOES Oorja PROVIDE?
Oorja designs, develops, and manufactures liquid methanol-based fuel cells.
WHERE ARE FUEL CELLS USED?
The following applications are a sample of the areas where fuel cells are being used commercially today.
— Off-Grid Applications: Remote home sites, field science stations, telecommunications repeaters, and backup power for schools, hospitals, and government facilities
— On-Board Charging: Forklifts, automated guided vehicles, golf carts, tuggers, riders, cars, motorcycles, and submarines.
— Portable and Mobile Power Applications: Consumer electronic devices, cell phones, and MP3 players.
— Auxiliary Power Applications: Recreational vehicles, military vehicles, boats, homes.
WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES Oorja OFFER IN COMPARISON TO BATTERIES OR INTERNAL-COMBUSTION-POWERED OPTIONS FOR FORKLIFTS?
— Lower Costs: Oorja fuel cells reduce costs (labor, electrical, battery) and increase productivity (labor, space, battery) for materials-handling operations.
— Reduced Pollution: Oorja fuel cells reduce greenhouse gas emissions, eliminating NOx, SOx, and reducing CO2 emissions. Oorja products increase battery life and reduce battery requirements. This reduces the overall use of toxic chemicals inside the batteries.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON THE LIFE OF THE BATTERY AND HOW DOES THE Oorja SOLUTION IMPACT THE MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS OF THE BATTERY?
Oorja products continuously trickle-charge the onboard battery in the materials-handling vehicle. This ensures the battery never reaches a state of deep discharge. Battery charge and power are maintained at high levels, and the battery is not subject to heat damage caused during recharging. Therefore, battery life is increased and battery maintenance needs are reduced.
HOW DO YOU REFUEL Oorja PRODUCTS?
Methanol is delivered to the fuel cell, similar to refueling a car. A compact methanol-refueling cabinet with a hose and nozzle is used to transfer methanol to the fuel tank in Oorja products. Anyone can refuel the Oorja fuel cells with minimal training.
Methanol delivery for our customers is ensured by Oorja. We have set up partnerships with several large national methanol suppliers so that the fuel can be regularly supplied to any location within one business day.
ARE OTHER OPTIONS FOR REFUELING AVAILABLE?
There are other options for refueling, such as using a hand pumps or swapping tanks. However, these options are not standard and are customized based on the unique needs of our customers.
WHAT IS YOUR POLICY ON SYSTEM REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE?
Oorja products have few moving parts and require little maintenance. However, when required, our large dealer network can provide labor and parts for on-site service. Our dealers offer a number of maintenance plans to cover all operating environments.
WHAT MODEL BATTERIES DOES Oorja SUPPORT?
The standalone unit can work with 24V and 48V battery systems. The hybrid unit currently replaces only the 24V batteries.
HOW MANY Oorja UNITS CAN BE SUPPORTED BY ONE FUELING STATION?A single Oorja refueling station holds two 55-gallon drums of methanol. A 55-gallon drum can supply fuel to 15 Oorja units that are completely out of fuel before the 55-gallon refueling rig is emptied. After that, the drum will need to be replaced before additional refuels can take place. Replacing a drum takes only a few minutes, after which another 15 Oorja units can be refueled before the second drum needs to be replaced. Therefore, the Oorja fueling rig can support many Oorja units.
ARE THERE ANY ENVIRONMENTAL OR ECO CONCERNS REGARDING THE REFUELING STATION?
No, the refueling station is a NFPA 30 rated cabinet with compression fittings at all connection points. Additionally, all the couplings on the refueling station are self-sealing couplers with an in-line dry-break coupler, in case a driver forgets to disconnect before driving away.
DOES A TRICKLE CHARGE DO ANY HARM TO THE BATTERY? ARE THERE ANY DRAWBACKS TO TRICKLE CHARGING?
No, a trickle charge is the best type of charge for batteries as it does not heat the battery. The only drawback to trickle charging is time; however, because the Oorja unit is mounted on and connected to the battery at all times, the time factor is not relevant.
CAN THE Oorja PRODUCTS OPERATION IN FREEZERS?
Yes, Oorja products can operate in freezers without any negative impact on Oorja performance or life. Oorja products have been operationally tested at conditions below –4ºF/–20ºC.
CAN WE GO COMPLETELY GRID-FREE WITH Oorja PRODUCTS?
Yes, with Oorja fuel cells installed, vehicles can be completely independent of the grid.