PaxiTech – Powering EDF off-grid sensors

PaxiTech and the DTG/ENV/DMM department of EDF (Electricity of France) collaborated together to study the possibility of powering an off-grid control system for turbidity measurements downstream of hydroelectric dams with a hydrogen fuel cell. This operation was carried out in a steep-sided Alpine valley where temperatures could go as low as -15°C.

A hybrid system was developed where a PACRETE type fuel cell was installed in the cabinet with the EDF photovoltaic system to assure continuous electrical energy for the shorter (and the colder) days of the year. A lot was learned from these experiments and improvements were made to the fuel cell system, in terms of the electronics and the resistance of certain materials to extremely cold conditions.

This operation will certainly be repeated and extended to other sites in the next few years, and/or the hybrid system will be used for other types of applications.