Hydrogen Fuel Cells are one of the most promising sweethearts of the energy transition. When powered with green hydrogen, the fuel cell is one of the lowest direct emission technologies available, producing only water and oxygen as byproducts. The global demand for pure hydrogen continues to increase, reaching 73,9 Mt in 2018 (IEA). Pure hydrogen is used across various purposes, including powering vehicles, preparing diesel for the refining process, and producing ammonia for fertilizer for agriculture.
Start up PowerUp Energy Technologies is a rising player in this field. They’ve developed a portable hydrogen fuel cell electric generator for powering utilities on yachts, RVS, mobile locations and off grid living. Its first product on the market, launched July 2021, is the UP400 – a 10 kg 400 W unit, with output voltage of 12V DC available in 6 different colors. Later in the year, the company will release a UP200, 200 W, weighing only 8KG and a UP1K, 1000 W, weighing 20KG, and will eventually expand its product range to also include a UP6K.
PowerUp Energy Technologies is a young company, but the team is ambitious, with the aim to expand the applications for hydrogen as a fuel source. Co-Founder and CEO Ivar Kruusenberg said in an interview with StartupTV, “I think the work of PowerUp is extremely important to get the energy transition into place and really be successful. Because we are helping to gain social acceptance, we help to get the hydrogen to the everyday use cases. We start from the small and then it’s possible to go to the big.” The company has been nominated as a finalist for the 2021 Start Up Energy Transition award, along with 14 other international companies.
In 2021, PowerUp has also rolled out the world’s first hydrogen smart cabinet, in partnership with energy company Alexela. Opened in Estonia, the cabinet is basically a rental station, much like for propane tanks, but the canisters are filled with hydrogen. Someone wishing to use hydrogen fuel can download the PowerUp app and visit the nearest smart cabinet to rent a canister. The smart cabinets are designed to be stationed in public areas where they would be easy to find and access. Each tank has its own transportation certificate.
The reception to the smart cabinet has been generally positive and has made waves on a global scale. PowerUp hopes to install several more in France, Sweden, Finland and the USA to start, despite the fact that the process is not straightforward. Kruusenberg said, “The main challenges to opening these type of cabinets, obviously is the social acceptance, and we also need to get the end users in place because there’s no point of opening sites when there’s no users for the hydrogen.”
As the fight to establish a world that is carbon neutral continues, hydrogen fuel cells present yet another opportunity to reduce emissions. Where other technologies like diesel generators running on combustion technology are loud and polluting, hydrogen alternatives fueled with green hydrogen are quiet and emission free.