Field trials begin for UPS powered by fuel cell modules

COSTA MESA, Calif., Oct. 14, 2003 — MGE UPS Systems Inc. and Ballard Power Systems have launched field trials for MGE’s Evolution Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) powered by Ballard’s Nexa® RM Series fuel cell modules.

The event included a series of live demonstrations for reporters and customers in New York City beginning with a simulated blackout on the 21st floor of a midtown high-rise.

During the “blackout,” the 3KVA Evolution UPS provided power to a rack of computer networking equipment and a large plasma screen display while Ballard’s AirGen™ Portable Fuel Cell generator kept a small refrigerator, lighting and other small electronics operating for the duration of the hour-plus presentation.

As part of the first demonstration of these unique hydrogen-fueled systems in a high-rise environment, MGE announced the availability of the rack-based Evolution/Nexa RM systems for field trials.

By integrating Ballard’s recently introduced Nexa RM Series power modules with MGE’s proven UPS platform, MGE will be able to offer a realistic and reliable alternative to meet the growing customer demand for long-duration power backup for business critical applications. In addition, the companies highlighted the ease of operation and commercial availability of Ballard’s AirGen backup fuel cell generators through MGE’s extensive sales network. MGE also offers service and maintenance contracts for these products.

The integrated fuel cell UPS system provides 3KVA of power in a convenient rack-mounted package that is well suited for providing continuous power to small networks, internetworking equipment, call center infrastructure and other applications where business continuity is critical.

Because fuel cells will operate as long as fuel is supplied, duration of backup is determined by the size and quantity of fuel storage tanks and typically ranges from 4 to 24 hours.

Hydrogen is provided via an adapter kit from standard 31-inch high Q- or 51-inch high K-style pressurized gas cylinders from Praxair Inc. or other existing hydrogen gas suppliers. The pipes used for delivery of the gas to the fuel cell power modules can be rigid, flexible, or any combination as required by the specific site.

The Nexa RM Series produces a DC voltage that is then bused to the Evolution. This implementation combines state-of-the-art PEM fuel cell technology, with an established line-interactive UPS product, to provide a high level of reliability as well as cost and space optimization.

Like the Evolution UPS, the scalable Nexa RM Series is designed for installation in industry standard 19-inch racks and includes electrical connections, N+1 redundancy capability, and a host of safety features.

Each 1kW Nexa RM Series module has ±24VDC output and produces 40A of current. Three of the 85-pound, 5U (8.7-inch) modules are used in the Evolution configuration.

The line-interactive Evolution UPS itself uses only 2U (3.5 inches) of rack space and weighs 80.4 pounds.

It includes connectors to accept DC input from the Nexa RM Series modules and six standard 15A NEMA receptacles as well as USB, serial and SNMP/web connection options for advanced monitoring and control with MGE’s Solution-Pac or Management-Pac Power Management Software. Power distribution options with additional receptacles are also available.

Field trial units of the fuel cell-powered Evolution and Nexa RM Series are available now, with commercial production slated for 2004. Production models of the 1kW AirGen fuel cell generator for industrial use are available now from MGE.

Recently named as an authorized worldwide (excluding Japan) distributor and service provider for Ballard fuel cell generators, MGE offers service and support for Ballard’s Nexa RM Series and AirGen fuel cell generator products from more than 170 factory service centers throughout the world. For more information, contact MGE at 800-523-0142 or via their web site at:

About Ballard Power Systems:

Ballard Power Systems is involved in developing, manufacturing and marketing zero-emission proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Ballard is commercializing fuel cell engines for transportation applications and fuel cell systems for portable and stationary products.

Ballard’s proprietary technology is enabling automobile, bus, electrical equipment, portable power and stationary product manufacturers to develop environmentally clean products for sale.

Additional information may be found on Ballard’s web site at