The world is being conquered by a smart generator

  • 06. May 2020
  • Articel,
  • Cooperation projects,
  • News,
  • Success story
The world is being conquered by a smart generator
  • 06. May 2020
  • Articel,
  • Cooperation projects,
  • News,
  • Success story
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Estonia has stood out in the world with many business solutions, high-tech inventions and scientific discoveries. There are many examples, be it the ME-3 lactic acid bacteria, gelatine faux leather, Skype, Starship robotic couriers or e-residency. For many developments, a thriving economy with science has been a good kick-start. So new achievements are expected in the market.

It is clear that society is responding to evolution at its own pace, but for the consumer, convenience is one of the most important developments in technology. This is why everyone must look beyond tomorrow, and every development and smart solution must be designed to create a comfortable and economical added value.

Estonians have come up with new ideas again. Namely, there is a race against time for the possibilities of fuel cells and hydrogen. The economy has long been waiting for new energy solutions. Backup solutions for diesel generators are especially welcome. The company PowerUp Fuel Cells OÜ offers a global competition in this field.

PowerUp decided to develop a new product, the UP400, to end the diesel era. It is a generator based on the next generation hydrogen fuel cell. The company’s first product is intended for marine use, but there are other potential areas of application. 

“The UP400 is the world’s first portable hydrogen fuel cell-based generator that can be connected to solar panels and wind turbines to generate electricity. These are high-tech and unique products. The benefits that our generators offer are crucial for certain markets, such as sailing. Simultaneously, our battery is a convenient alternative to diesel engines in the Defence Forces, off-grid houses, electric cars (mileage extender) and all kinds of applications that do not have access to the electricity grid or need backup energy,” Maiko Kiis, Marketing Manager of PowerUp Fuel Cells OÜ, explains.

Smart generator

At the moment, room heat is mainly produced by central heating plants, electricity, coal, wood or other methods. The only autonomous solutions are diesel generators, solar panels and small wind turbines. The latter two need battery banks and powerful and expensive inverters (current transformers) to store electricity. Diesel generators, on the other hand, are noisy and harmful to the environment. “PowerUp’s solution is a fuel cell-based combined heat and power system. A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy of oxygen and hydrogen into heat, electricity and water,” Mr. Kiis notes. Thus, it is a purely chemical reaction device with no moving parts and no combustion process. The generator is environmentally friendly, quiet, light, portable, emission- and maintenance-free.

“We have developed a product, that in the future, could replace diesel generators, heavy batteries and can be combined with solar panels and wind generators,” explains Maiko Kiis. Thus, the product is called a smart generator because it can be connected to both a solar panel and a wind generator to store excess energy (for which the generator has a small battery) that can be used later. “The generator is modular, which means that, for example, by connecting two UP400 generators, you get twice the output power.” The battery can also be installed practically anywhere, as it is an extremely quiet and safe generator. It is important to ensure the airflow, which requires a little free space around the generator.

Good team as a competitive advantage

Competitors in this field can be counted on the fingers of one hand, but in recent years there has also been an upward trend in this field. “Many are still in the development phase and it is a pleasure to say that we are at least three steps ahead of them. Existing competitors face market barriers that have not yet been overcome. We have been actively developing for the last 3.5 years. At the moment, in addition to the 400 W generator, we also deal with new fuel cells and 200 W and 1 kW generators. Even more powerful generators are expected soon. In addition, our advantage is a solid strategic plan and negotiations with partners are already in action,” Mr. Kiis says.

It is clear that the life of a new company is not always easy and when it comes to difficulties, quite often the first concern is funding. “In the beginning, development and labour costs, acquisition of materials and all kinds of other costs must be covered without sales. The biggest advantage is that we have an extremely motivated and strong team and very strong and well-known partners,” the marketing manager says. Adding that finding a good team is the most important part because it is a competitive advantage.” A team that works towards a common goal, is educated and determined, and whom you can count on at any time, is a big plus. Sadly, we have had obstacles in finding engineers in Estonia. Unfortunately, we could not find a leading electrical engineer in Estonia and had to look towards Poland and found a good specialist there. ”

Despite some obstacles in the workforce, the company’s first patent application went smoothly. Cooperation was established with American partners. A study on patent freedom has recently been carried out and diagnostics of the product’s intellectual property is being carried out together with Enterprise Estonia. All this in order to prepare for the registration of new patents.

The future of PowerUp Fuel Cells OÜ is thus full of developments and their product portfolio is constantly expanding to cover the market needs and demand of the respective field both in the world and in Estonia.

 

  • PowerUp Fuel Cells OÜ is an Estonian company, although it was founded in the summer of 2016 in the United States of America (PowerUp Energy Technologies, Inc.) and registered in Estonia on 08.09.2016.
  • The UP400 (400 W, 32 A, 12 V) is the first fuel cell-based electric generator in the world to use pure hydrogen gas. Pre-sale of the product started in December 2019.
  • The smart generator is:
    • light and compact,
    • water and corrosion resistant,
    • quiet and odourless
    • emission free
    • maintenance free,
    • can be used in extreme conditions.
  • The company is also coming out with the following products: 200 W; 800 W; 1000 W; 5000 W. These products are designed for various market segments, including military vans, caravans, construction and more.

Author: Kaja Mõts

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