EDISON, N.J. — Fuji Electric Co. Ltd. announced that its European subsidiary, Fuji Electric Europe GmbH, has completed an agreement to acquire 70 percent of the shares of N2telligence, a German fuel cell company headquartered in Wismar, Germany, best known for holding the exclusive license for the patent on a fire prevention system using exhaust air from fuel cells. Fuji Electric said the acquisition is part of its plan to expand its business in the areas of clean and renewable energy, including geothermal, hydro, solar photovoltaic (PV), and fuel cells.
Fuji Electric said the commercialization of its 100kW phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC) has made the company one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial fuel cells. Because electricity can be obtained directly from fuel cells by the chemical reaction of natural gas or hydrogen, there is little energy loss in the power generation process, resulting in highly efficient power generation with low noise emission and low vibration. As cogeneration, or combined heat and power, equipment that uses the waste heat produced during generation, fuel cells also achieve energy efficiency of around 90 percent and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
A key application for fuel cells is their use in fire prevention systems, which initially brought Fuji Electric and N2telligence together. N2telligence holds the exclusive license for the patent for this fire prevention system using exhaust air from fuel cells. Since establishing a cooperative business with Fuji Electric in 2009, it has sold fuel cells made by Fuji Electric to major automobile manufacturers, data centers, and other facilities.
Fuel cells expel air while they are generating electricity, and that exhaust air has a lower oxygen concentration than the air in the atmosphere. By pumping that reduced-oxygen air into a building, it creates a low-oxygen environment (usually 15 percent oxygen content) that prevents fires from starting, so fuel cells can be used as a fire-prevention system. In Germany, a growing number of fire prevention systems using low oxygen air are being installed in warehouses and data centers as part of disaster-prevention measures. Employing fuel cells or traditional compressors, these systems have the advantage of preventing damage to goods, materials and archives, etc., from water or chemicals used in conventional fire extinguishers. Already in Germany, approximately 1,000 such systems have been installed and annual growth of 20 percent is anticipated in this market. Fuel cells have the advantage of generating energy in addition to producing low oxygen air.
In addition to N2telligence’s exclusive patent license and its commercial distribution network, Fuji Electric plans to use its technological capabilities to strengthen the company’s engineering capabilities, from sales through to after-sales service, incorporating its own fuel cell design, manufacturing expertise, and technical knowledge into the company and begin local production, with the goal of reducing costs and delivery times to customers.
For more information, visit www.americas.fujielectric.com.
Publication date: 2/2/2016