A partnership between Youngman and TCP has produced the Ecolite-H2, which it claims is the world’s first LED hydrogen fuel cell lighting tower.
Central to the operation is the Hymera fuel cell, which is manufactured by BOC and generates energy by combining bottled hydrogen with oxygen from the atmosphere to produce water and electricity.
The process is virtually silent and there are no particulate or smoke emissions as the only ‘exhaust’ is water, making the unit particularly well suited to working in environmentally sensitive or built-up areas.
The Ecolite-H2 is fitted with four high-intensity light emitting diode lights powered by the fuel cell. An ambient light detector automatically switches the lights off at dawn to conserve the bottled hydrogen; it switches them on again at dusk.
Through the optimisation of their colour temperature and the use of prismatic lenses, the four 31 W LEDs are said to produce illumination roughly equivalent to two traditional 1,000 W halogen bulbs.
According to TCP managing director Andrew Barker, whose company designed the unit, the Ecolite-H2 provides enough illumination for a working area about 50 m in diameter and safety lighting across an area of double that size.
Manufactured by Youngman, the H2 is based on the Ecolite-T road-towable chassis with a 9 m battery-powered hydraulically operated telescopic tower.
It is fitted with retractable outriggers, enabling it to withstand winds of up to 100 km/h (Beaufort 10).
Depending on the hydrogen storage capacity, the unit has a run time of between 50 and 900 hours, and when fuel is running low the on-board system sends an alert via a text message.
With hydrogen and rebated diesel costing roughly the same, the H2’s fuel costs are approximately equivalent to those for the existing Ecolite T – although the fuel cell’s run time can be much longer and is said to require virtually no maintenance.
While the purchase price has yet to be finalised, Mr Barker admits the unit will carry a premium “but not a very high one”; adds that the H2 brings with it “a low running cost” and environmental benefits.
The prototype unit will be in operation at PlantWorX (14-16 May at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire) and the company is currently setting up site demonstrations with contractors and hire companies.