UPS Systems has donated a fuel cell system to light Trafalgar Square’s Christmas tree. The fuel cell will power the star on top of the tree throughout December and the New Year.

The iconic tree is a tradition that dates back to 1947 when the city of Oslo donated the first tree to the people of London. Oslo has since donated a tree every year to thank the UK for its support of Norway during the Second World War.

The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Susie Burbidge, said, “I would like to thank the people of Oslo for this wonderful tree, the gift of which is a tradition that I know goes back many years, and has come to represent not only the start of Christmas, but also of a long-standing friendship between Norway and Great Britain.”

UPS System has donated a 75W fuel cell to the Greater London Authority (GLA), along with enough fuel to light the Christmas tree’s star for the duration of the festive season. Furthermore, UPS Systems has installed its unique remote monitoring system, REMO, to track how the fuel cell is performing, which can be done from its offices in Hungerford. REMO alerts users to equipment faults and power failures, as well as monitoring input and output voltage, load, temperature, fuel levels and other important operating parameters. The GLA is also able to log into REMO ‘Live’, REMO’s secure web-based platform, at any time, to view the status of the system and monitor its operation.

The GLA is committed to making London a greener city through a number of initiatives, including its iconic Christmas tree. The tree now uses low energy LED lights to reduce power and emissions. And the star uses compact fluorescent bulbs, which allow it to shine brightly whilst using little power.

“Using a fuel cell to power the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square is another example of the GLA introducing cleantech initiatives to London to help reduce carbon emissions,” said Tom Sperrey, Managing Director of UPS Systems. “We think it’s a great opportunity to promote fuel cells to a wider audience, and raise awareness of the technology as an alternative source of clean power.”



UPS Systems has supplied one of its new hydrogen fuel cells, the Mobixane, to documentary makers Renegade Pictures. The fuel cell gives Renegade Pictures a virtually silent portable power supply for its 3D camera equipment, which it is using to film a new Sky TV series about Woburn Safari Park.

Renegade Pictures will be filming on location around the safari park. Its 3D cameras require more power than conventional cameras, and the fuel cell will provide the electricity required to power the extra equipment. Renegade Pictures is using an ex-army truck to help transport its film equipment around the park, and to protect the crew from the wild animals.

The Mobixane portable hydrogen fuel cell can generate up to 2.5kW of power and is being supplied for use as a free-standing or mobile unit so that the production crew can easily transport the unit between locations. The fuel cell is supplied as standard with sufficient hydrogen storage to run at peak load for up to eight hours. Simply changing hydrogen cylinders enables the film crew to run the unit for any length of time.

Claire Bugden, Production Manager at Renegade Pictures said, “Previously we’ve used generators to provide power for all of our equipment, but they are very noisy and can be unreliable. We’re there to film the animals so it’s really important that we don’t disturb them and cause them any distress.   The fuel cell is the ideal source of power for this project. It’s silent when running and is environmentally friendly so it fits with the safari park’s clean image. We couldn’t have done this project without the fuel cell.”

The Mobixane is seen here on board the ex-army truck used by the film crew. Tom Sperrey, Managing Director at UPS Systems commented, “The Mobixane is an exciting product for the broadcast industry. Quiet in nature, easy to transport, cheap to maintain and long runtimes mean it’s the perfect portable power source for film and TV use where cameras and lighting can demand a lot of power.

Our new innovative rental scheme for fuel cell generators also makes this new technology totally accessible for any business so that they can experience, appreciate and then fully understand the benefits of fuel cells with no up-front capital outlay.”

The Mobixane is available now in the UK, only through UPS Systems.


Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd has announced that leading companies in the micro-CHP (combined heat and power) sector have launched a report highlighting how micro-CHP can actively contribute to the UK’s transition to greener heat and power generation, if given the right support now.  Micro-CHP, a technology developed and manufactured in the UK, can use the nation’s existing gas network and installer skills to enable consumers to heat their homes efficiently and at the same time generate low-carbon power that can be used on-site or exported to the grid.

The report sets out a road-map demonstrating how micro-CHP could replace condensing boilers in the home heating market, radically reducing household emissions.  However, micro-CHP is an emerging technology and wide and rapid deployment will be crucial to achieving the necessary economies of scale. The industry is convinced that the installation of over 1 million micro-CHP units in the UK by 2020 is an achievable and credible aspiration, but that the right Government support will be the key to making this happen.

A campaign is now underway for adjustments to be made to the existing policy framework, notably:

  • raising the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for micro CHP to at least 15p/kWh
  • a commitment to continued support for micro-CHP after the initial pilot of 30,000 units.

It is estimated that this would bear a cumulative policy cost of around £12.7 million until the end of the spending review period in April 2015, that is less than 2% of the total FiT budget for this period. This would be accompanied by gradual volume-based tariff degression and eventual changes to the Building Regulations to mandate an emissions performance standard for new domestic heating products by the end of the decade, thus removing the need for further subsidisation of micro-CHP.  The report, commissioned by Calor, Baxi Group, CFCL, E.ON, Ceres Power, British Gas and Efficient Home Energy, is available online at


Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd has also   announced that its BlueGen® Microgeneration Heat and Power (mCHP) product has received final Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) product and factory accreditation, enabling BlueGen customers to benefit from the UK Government’s feed in tariff financial incentive scheme.


ITM Power has announced the cost structure of hydrogen generated by the Company’s HFuel electrolysis platform. Combining the capital cost along with data on operating efficiency gained from completed HOST trials enables a representative hydrogen price to be derived.

The hydrogen costs are best expressed in £/kg and reflect both capital cost amortisation and electricity cost. HFuel can be switched on/off in a second and can be demand side managed as a smart load which could potentially result in electricity costs of less than 4p/kWh and potentially as low as Op/kWh or negative electricity prices in some parts of Europe utilising a high percentage of intermittent renewable power.

Based on a 100kg/day HFuel system, hydrogen cost ranges from £3.88/kg (based on 4p/kWh and a 20yr Capex amortisation) to £10.71/kg (based on 8p/kWh and a 5yr amortisation). This compares to €9.90/kg (£8.49/kg) which is the European target (McKinsey) for 2015 coinciding with the major roll out of fuel cell vehicles across Europe.

Key HFuel information:
• The HFuel product is modular in size from 5kg/day to 100kg/day unit size, which can be stacked together.
• The HOST experience has shown an electricity cost of 6.5p/kWh provides the same cost per mile as diesel in an internal combustion engine vehicle, based on input electricity costs. Moving to a fuel cell platform would improve the economics very significantly.
• The European cost target for hydrogen generation starts at €16.60/kg in 2010, reducing to €9.90/kg in 2015 and €5.50/kg in 2025.
• A 100kg/day HFuel generation system with a 5 year amortisation and 4p/kWh electricity price produces hydrogen at a cost of £8.31/kg, which is lower than the European target for 2015.
• After the 5 year amortization period, the hydrogen cost from the same system is £2.40/kg, which is lower than the European target for 2025.

The above analysis assumes 100% up time. The energy storage component (hydrogen storage unit) is quoted separately and is typically tailored to the user’s specific requirements. The maintenance scheme is developed to match the installation site and usage profile. The costs associated with shipping the unit to site are not included as they are location specific. Targets are quoted from the McKinsey analysis ‘A portfolio of power-trains for Europe: a fact-based analysis.’

ITM Power CEO, Graham Cooley, commented: “Hydrogen from HFuel costs less than EU targets and is competitive with fuel on the high street today. What could be more compelling than an economic fuel made from renewable power that has zero emissions?”


ITM Power has announced a partnership agreement with a consortium called EcoIsland, the largest single sustainability project in the UK. The partners in EcoIsland are IBMToshibaScottish and Southern Energy (SSE)Southern WaterCable&Wireless Worldwide and ITM Power.   ITM will provide hydrogen energy storage and clean fuel technologies for integration into the renewable energy smart grid system being developed on the Isle of Wight.

Smart Energy technologies

The EcoIsland project brings together within a single island energy system a critical mass of smart energy technologies to demonstrate how a future energy system can be configured. With renewable generation including wind, solar, tidal and geothermal the island will need to match supply and demand using battery energy storage, hydrogen energy storage and demand side management. These technologies will be coordinated centrally by smart grid technologies.

ITM Power is the hydrogen fuel partner and will supply hydrogen refueling equipment controlled by smart grid technology to optimize both renewable energy storage and the provision of fuel to both fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen internal combustion engine commercial vehicles. The intention is that the island will also be a showcase for the advanced low emission hydrogen vehicles being launched from 2013.

Decarbonising road transport

Up to four refuelling systems are planned for the first phase of deployment on the island, demonstrating the scale-ability of the technology and rapid response demand side reserve.

The project will also present an opportunity for ITM to showcase its unique domestic scale products – HBox Solar and HFill, which respectively offer hydrogen generation directly from solar PV and home hydrogen refuelling.

EcoIsland founder, David Green, commented: “The collection of technologies that we are bringing together on EcoIsland will provide the total energy solution for tomorrow’s world. Hydrogen and ITM Power’s technology will be integral to proving that renewable energy can be utilized effectively, despite being intermittent. Using wind energy to decarbonise the transport system on the island is a fantastic prospect.”

ITM Power CEO, Graham Cooley, commented: “Joined up thinking in the energy sector is rare and EcoIsland is a world class project on our doorstep with exactly that. At ITM Power we are convinced that hydrogen is the solution to renewable power intermittency and decarbonising road transport, so where better to prove hydrogen energy storage than on the EcoIsland?”


UPS Systems has supplied the UK Met Office with a Commpac 500 hydrogen fuel cell. The Met Office is trialling the unit at its weather monitoring station in Camborne, Cornwall to evaluate the fuel cell’s suitability for providing independent power to remote locations.

The Met Office is renting the Commpac 500 fuel cell for an initial one-month period. It will use the fuel cell in one of its palletised weather stations, which are deployed in remote locations, so the Met Office can test its suitability for powering telemetry and other equipment that doesn’t have easy access to the National Grid.

The Commpac 500 is seen here on site.  It weighs 150kg and can generate 500W of power. UPS Systems has configured the system so it can be left for a year without the need to refuel. The system is also equipped with a remote monitoring system to provide the Met Office with live data about all aspects of the system.

“Met Office experiments often take place in remote locations for short periods. The benefits of this fuel cell is that it is commercially available, it can be hired and negates the need to source a conventional power supply,” said Geoff Hooper, Head of Technical Services, Property Management at the Met Office.

Tom Sperrey, Managing Director of UPS Systems commented, “This project is another great example of a fuel cell being used in a real-world application. The Commpac 500 was built specifically to provide prime power to remote locations, so the Met Office’s weather station is the ideal application. We’re hopeful that this installation will help to raise the profile of fuel cells and make the technology more accepted as a portable source of prime power.”

The Commpac 500 is available to lease from UPS Systems.


The world is locking itself into an unsustainable energy future which would have far-reaching consequences.  Without a bold change of policy direction, the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system, the International Energy Agency warned as it launched the 2011 edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO). The agency’s flagship publication said that there is still time to act, but the window of opportunity is closing.

“Growth, prosperity and rising population will inevitably push up energy needs over the coming decades. But we cannot continue to rely on insecure and environmentally unsustainable uses of energy,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “Governments need to introduce stronger measures to drive investment in efficient and low-carbon technologies. The Fukushima nuclear accident, the turmoil in parts of the Middle East and North Africa and a sharp rebound in energy demand in 2010 which pushed CO2 emissions to a record high, highlight the urgency and the scale of the challenge.”

Three Policy Scenarios

The WEO examines three policy scenarios.  The central ‘New Policies Scenario’ (NPS) assumes that recent government commitments are implemented in a cautious manner.  The ‘450 Scenario’ gives a 50% possibility of limiting the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million of CO2 equivalent. The third scenario envisages no change from present policies.

In the NPS, primary energy demand increases by one-third between 2010 and 2035, with 90% of the growth in non-OECD economies. The share of fossil fuels in global primary energy consumption falls from around 81% today to 75% in 2035. Renewables increase from 13% of the mix today to 18% in 2035; the growth in renewables is underpinned by subsidies that rise from $64 billion in 2010 to $250 billion in 2035, support that in some cases cannot be taken for granted in this age of fiscal austerity. By contrast, subsidies for fossil fuels amounted to $409 billion in 2010.   In the NPS, nuclear output rises by over 70% by 2035, only slightly less than projected last year, as most countries with nuclear programmes have reaffirmed their commitment to them. But given the increased uncertainty, that could change.

The end of cheap oil for transport

In the NPS the average oil price remains high, approaching $120/barrel (in year-2010 dollars) in 2035. However, if there is insufficient investment, consumers could face a near-term rise in the oil price to $150/barrel.    Oil demand rises from 87 million barrels per day in 2010 to 99 million barrels per day in 2035, with all the net growth coming from the transport sector in emerging economies. The passenger vehicle fleet doubles to almost 1.7 billion in 2035. Alternative technologies, such as hybrid and electric vehicles that use oil more efficiently or not at all, continue to advance but they take time to penetrate markets.

Gas use increasing but uncertainties re coal and nuclear power

The use of coal – which met almost half of the increase in global energy demand over the last decade – rises 65% by 2035 in the NPS. More efficient power plants and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology could boost prospects for coal, but it still faces significant regulatory, policy and technical barriers that make its deployment uncertain. The problems at Fukushima have raised questions about the future role of nuclear power. The future for natural gas is more certain: its share in the energy mix rises and gas use almost catches up with coal consumption.

Delaying action is a false economy

In the NPS, cumulative CO2 emissions over the next 25 years amount to three-quarters of the total from the past 110 years, leading to a long-term average temperature rise of 3.5°C. Were the new policies not implemented, we are on an even more dangerous track, to an increase of 6°C.   The 450 Scenario traces an energy path consistent with meeting the globally agreed goal of limiting the temperature rise to 2°C.

Four-fifths of the total energy-related CO2 emissions permitted to 2035 in the 450 Scenario are already locked-in by existing capital stock, including power stations, buildings and factories.  Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.

The IEA’s Chief Economist, Fatih Birol, said: “As each year passes without clear signals to drive investment in clean energy, the “lock-in” of high-carbon infrastructure is making it harder and more expensive to meet our energy security and climate goals.”

The International Energy Agency is an autonomous body with 28 member countries affiliated to the OECD.   The 2011 World Energy Outlook is now available from