CommScope unveils hydrogen fuel cell cabinets for enterprise backup power

Small-to-medium enterprises benefit from up to 16 hours of clean backup power provided by new outdoor cabinet fuel cells.

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CommScope, a supplier of infrastructure for communications networks, has unveiled its hydrogen fuel cell solution, designed to provide reliable backup power for small-to-medium enterprises in North America. The new outdoor cabinet fuel cell can provide up to 16 hours of reliable, environmentally-friendly backup power to enterprise core business computing systems. The system is enabled through CommScope's existing partnership with Hydrogenics Corporation, a global specialist in designing, manufacturing, building and installing industrial and commercial hydrogen systems.

“Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, have shown us that traditional backup power generators can be unreliable when put through the test of time and exposure to the elements,” comments George Brooks, senior vice president, Enterprise Product and Market Management, CommScope. “These generators are commonly powered by fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide. As fuel prices continue to fluctuate, businesses are searching for an alternative that is more reliable and has less of an impact on the environment.”

CommScope says its hydrogen fuel cell solution converts chemical energy directly into electrical energy without any combustion. The system is designed to provide highly efficient, reliable and uninterrupted backup power for commercial building systems without the need for costly regular maintenance. It does not emit any greenhouse gases and the only by-products are heat and a small amount of water, notes the company. The proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cells are housed inside an outdoor environmentally secure cabinet, about the size of a phone booth -- a smaller footprint than other solutions currently available on the market, claims CommScope.

See also: Data center fuel cells and fire prevention

“This is a smart fit for businesses, such as banks, large retailers and other commercial buildings needing something they can count on to keep their business systems operational, without interruption, anytime there is a loss in power,” Brooks says. “Hydrogen fuel cell technology not only has a lower total cost of ownership, but provides an opportunity to meet sustainability goals through an alternative power solution that is clean, quiet and runs on an abundant resource. Hydrogen is safer than fossil fuels and I’m confident we will see more uses for it in the coming years.”

Last year, CableLabs, the non-profit research and development consortium for the cable television industry, deployed the CommScope fuel cells to provide 16 hours of reliable, environmentally friendly backup power to its head-end and cable modem termination system at its headquarters in Louisville, Colo. In 2011, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) deployed a similar hydrogen fuel cell system to provide backup power to its data center at its headquarters in Exton, Pa. Those fuel cells were called into service during Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. During the severe weather, the fuel cell provided sufficient backup power until normal power was restored.

CommScope said it will also expand its PartnerPRO network to include partners who will assist customers with site planning, installation, commissioning and on-going maintenance of the backup power solution. Learn more about CommScope’s outdoor fuel cell system.

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