Kohler Power Systems, part of Kohler Energy, has collaborated with Toyota Motor North America to develop and install a hydrogen fuel cell power generation system at the Klickitat Valley Health in Goldendale, Washington.

The fuel cell power system, which combines Kohler’s power generation control platform and system integration expertise with a fuel cell module from Toyota, can be used as a prime or back-up power source or as part of a distributed network.

Klickitat Valley Health

Klickitat Valley Health (KVH) is a hospital that serves as the principal medical center for over 10,000 people in their district.

The hospital previously announced plans to reinforce their electrical infrastructure including backup and secondary power generation that included a hydrogen fuel cell to ensure uninterrupted operations.

According to Ben Crawford, business development manager, Kohler Energy and Richard Ferguson, new markets manager, business development, Fuel Cell Solutions at Toyota Motor North America, this type of solution was a good fit for KVH.

“For installations such as healthcare facilities, resiliency is critical…The KOHLER Fuel Cell System features a Toyota Solid Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell for high-efficiency energy conversion, and the system has been designed for fast start-up and exceptional transient handling.

“Kohler provides one-source responsibility for the generating system and accessories, with the fuel cell unit being prototype-tested and factory-built within Kohler facilities. This approach results in a highly optimized and scalable solution that is built to last.”

The fuel cell system

Toyota has consolidated various components from a second-generation Toyota Mirai passenger vehicle fuel cell system into a single, compact fuel cell module.

The newly created module includes the second generation’s improved fuel cell stack and the elements responsible for the generation of electricity (air containing oxygen and the gaseous hydrogen fuel), system cooling, and on-board power control.

“Toyota has been exploring various applications of our fuel cell technology and this opportunity with Kohler highlights the decarbonization opportunities that hydrogen as a fuel can provide for customers,” said Chris Yang, Group vice president, Business Development, Toyota. “Our fuel cell technology can be scaled and used to power a wide variety of products beyond transportation, and it does so without any emissions except water.”

Image credit: Kohler

Kohler will also complete the system integration and balance of the plant to ensure all supporting components and auxiliary systems needed to deliver energy operate together safely and reliably and within a turnkey package.

“Kohler is committed to investing in new technologies to help our customers achieve their resiliency goals without sacrificing their climate-related objectives, and fuel cells are a hugely promising opportunity – both on their own, and when combined with other complementary technologies for more flexible power strategies, such as microgrids,” said Charles Hunsucker, Kohler Power Systems president.

According to Ben Crawford and Richard Ferguson, on-site or emergency power is becoming more prevalent because every mission-critical facility needs back-up power.

“It is a fundamental building block of resilient energy supply.

“In some cases, highly efficient generators using renewable fuel, such as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), represent the best solution for mission-critical applications. In other cases, it will be hydrogen fuel cell systems.”

Originally published by Power Engineering International.

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