Jan 02 2014

Optimizing Smart Grids

Increasing environmental issues, security of energy supply, drive research and development towards renewable energy sources (RES) worldwide. A key issue of RES, such as wind and solar resources, is intermittency. RES are not dispatchable, they exhibit large fluctuations, and are uncertain.
The intermittency of RES can be absorbed by the hybrid combination of different RES (PV and Wind) and distributed resources such as energy storage, programmable loads and smart appliances. The choice of different RES as well as storage devices (hydrogen, batteries) depends on the location, the hybrid energy system’s operational mode (stand-alone vs. grid-connected) and its size. In order to realize such a system‘s full benefit, resources have to be coordinated to efficiently and reliably provide services (e.g. power, hydrogen storage size) in the face of uncertainty that arises from renewables and consumers. To address the issues associated with RES, there has been a growing interest in the development of energy management algorithms for islanded and grid-connected hybrid energy systems.
The challenge is to find the optimal commitment and dispatch of renewable energy so that certain objectives are achieved. A commonly pursued objective for a stand-alone mode of operation is to economically supply a local load. Additional objectives such as the minimization of greenhouse gas emissions by applying heuristic and multi-objective optimization techniques can also be implemented. Recent research has sought to incorporate predictions to deliver proactive unit commitment. Significant cost savings have been demonstrated when load predictions and weather/ambient condition forecasts are included.
We solve this problem by developing a modular very innovative optimization algorithms technology that can take energy inputs from hydrogen fuel cell, renewable energy sources (solar and wind), lithium-ion battery packs, electrical loads and dispatches efficiently electricity within the grid driven by Genport’s Real Time Optimization Engine.
The combination of these technologies results in a outstanding reliable source of power, Genport 300/1000 HPS suitable for a variety of off-grid applications including military, emergency, telecommunications, PCs, battery charging, electro-medical devices, stationary micro-grids, and auxiliary power.

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Apr 07 2013

Shall We have to test Lithium Batteries to ship?

All Li-ion cells and packs shipped must be tested to meet the Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods on lithium-ion batteries for air shipment, rules set by the United Nations (UN).
The electrical test stresses the battery by applying high heat, followed by a forced charge, abnormal discharge and an electrical short.
During the mechanical test the battery is crush-tested and exposed to high impact, shock and vibration.
The UN Transport test also requires altitude, thermal stability, vibration, shock, short circuit and overcharge checks.
The section 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria (UN Transportation Testing) specify the following tests:

T1 – Altitude Simulation 

T2 – Thermal Test 

T3 – Vibration
T4 – Shock

T5 – External Short Circuit
T6 – Impact

T7 – Overcharge 

T8 – Forced Discharge 

Genport tests all the designed battery packs according to UN 38.3.

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Aug 24 2012

Generating renewable electricity with Solar and Fuel Cell

Generating renewable electricity is an important way to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and many countries are installing wind and solar power plants to help meet targets for cutting CO2. One drawback of these energy sources is their variability: the wind tends to blow intermittently and solar power is only available during the daytime. Hence renewable power plants either have to be over-engineered to take account of this lower capacity factor, or they must be supported by spinning reserve power stations, typically fast-response open-cycle gas turbines – which goes against the environmental aims of the projects.

Ideally, excess renewable energy generated during times of plenty can be stored for use during periods when sufficient electricity is not available. But storing this energy is a difficult task: batteries and similar technologies perform well over short timescales, but over periods of weeks or months a different approach is necessary. Energy storage in the form of hydrogen is one such possibility: excess electricity is fed into an electrolyser to split water into its constituent parts, oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen is then used in fuel cells to produce electricity when needed, releasing the stored energy back to the grid.

This process allows excess energy produced in solar power plants to be stored and used, instead of wasted. Increasing the utilisation of renewable power plants helps to maximise the return on investment and lower the cost of electricity. The need for spinning reserve is also reduced as these facilities now have stored energy which can be readily converted back to electricity when required. Hydrogen can also be produced in a number of ways from biomass, allowing for the integration of this energy source in a complete renewable energy system. The most efficient way to convert hydrogen back to electricity is via fuel cells. This is not confined to grid electricity: in certain cases the stored hydrogen can be diverted for sale as fuel to fuel cell electric vehicle owners.

Fuel cells and electrolysers are complementary technologies. An electrolyser cell is much like a fuel cell run in reverse, using electricity instead of producing it. Commercial electrolyser technology is widely available and includes both proton exchange membrane and alkaline electrolysers.

As pure hydrogen is the fuel produced in this scenario, any type of fuel cell can be used to convert this into electricity in stationary power generation. For fuel cell vehicles, the technology of choice is proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC).

GENPORT has designed a portable power source, based on the hybrid concept integrating solar photovoltaic panels with a PEM fuel cell system to temporary generate electric energy in any off grid remote contest, providing continuously peak and constant power without external fuel, thermal signature and noise

This is a configurable system, based on the following modules: a retractable photovoltaic primary source of energy, a PEM fuel cell a PEM electrolyzer and solid hydrogen storage system.

The result is an innovative system for rapid deployment with enough power capacity to fulfill the demand of small loads as tactical communication systems.

GenPort 300 Hybrid PEM Solar with a granted patent (nr.0001394308) is a unique example of zero impact power source suitable as APU for small yacht allowing ocean navigation as well as to temporary power emergency electromedical devices, in an area devastated by natural disaster.

There are many possible configuration of the energy flow among the primary PV energy generator, the PEMFC, the PEM electrolyzer and the load.

When the daylight is available, the retractable PV panel powers directly the load and exceeding energy charges the battery pack or is utilized to power the PEM electrolyzer to convert and storage additional energy in hydrogen; if the adsorption of energy exceeds the capacity of the expandable PV panel or in case of a power failure, the battery pack and the PEMFC can dynamically contribute to strike an energy balance with also the eventual contribution of an external hydrogen source (GenFuel).

G300 HPS concept is multifunctional, configurable; it produces electric energy, pure hydrogen, water, and ozone for water purification.

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Sep 24 2011

A key Fuel Cell component: the Gas Diffusion Media

The heart of the Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) is the Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA), which consists of a proton exchange membrane (typically a perfluorosulfonated polymer) and two catalyst layers (i.e. anode and cathode). However, between the Bipolar Plate (BP) and the MEA it is common practice to insert a third component, the so-called Gas Diffusion Layer (GDL), which is now considered indispensable for the proper working of the FC. The GDL is a critical component in a PEM because it must carry reactant gases from the flow fields to the catalyst layer as well as electrons from the bipolar plate to the catalyst layer, while at same time has to remove reaction products (exhausted gases and water) from the catalyst layer and help take heat out of the MEA up to the cooling channels in the BP. Last but not least, it has to guarantee good contact between BP and MEA. So, among the many properties that are required for the GDL there are electronic and thermal conductivity, porosity, hydrophobicity to assist in water management, compressibility and elasticity.

At present, GDLs are constructed from porous carbon paper, or carbon cloth, with a thickness in the range of 100–300 µm. The gas diffusion layers are typically wet-proofed with a PTFE (Teflon) coating to ensure that pores do not become congested with liquid water; this positive contribution of the PTFE is usually counterbalanced by some drawbacks such as an increase in electrical resistance and thickness, together with an inhomogeneous coating distribution and the need of a thermal treatment to ensure the adhesion between PTFE and carbon substrate.

Both carbon paper and cloth are typically macroporous materials, but to improve water removal and gas permeability it is necessary to introduce micropores and this is accomplished by coating a thin Micro-Porous Layer (MPL) onto the GDL surface adjacent to the membrane; this coating also improves the smoothness of the GDL surface allowing a better contact with the catalytic layer. In addition to being microporous and to preserve high gas permeability, the MPL has to be quite hydrophobic to drive out water and electrically conductive. In this paper the PEM component obtained by coating the MPL onto the carbon cloth will be referred to as Gas Diffusion Medium (GDM), reserving the term GDL to the macroporous substrate made of woven carbon cloth.

The catalyst layer, which is in direct contact with the membrane and the GDM, is either applied to the membrane (Catalyst Coated Membrane, CCM) or to the MPL (the so-called Gas Diffusion Electrode, GDE). In either cases, the objective is to place the catalyst particles, typically platinum or platinum alloys, within close proximity of the membrane. In this work we will use CCMs only.

In commercialized products the MPL is almost universally made from dispersion of carbon black and PTFE particles in water in different concentrations. However, in the recent literature an increasing attention has been paid to nanocarbon-based materials to be used in the formulation of innovative PEM-FC components.

To improve thermal and electrical conductivity of GDL, Single walled carbon nanotubes free-standing membrane (CNTFSM) have been developed by the Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Chimica, Materiali e Ingegneria Chimica “G. Natta” and tested into a LT-PEMFC.

Kannan et al. made GDLs using a new type of partially ordered graphitized nano-carbon black. They were fabricated with teflonized nonwoven carbon paper as a substrate coated with a MPL, whose hydrophobicity was enhanced by the use of the graphitized carbon black provided by a Teflon suspension. The robustness of the micro-porous layer was improved by combining the graphitized nano-carbon black with a fibrous nano-carbon. The fuel cell performance in terms of power density was excellent.

Soehn et al. fabricated two types of gas diffusion electrodes (GDE) with nanocarbon as structural component. In the first one carbon nanotubes were directly grown on the fiber surface of a traditional carbon cloth in a CVD process. The second GDL uses the buckypaper preparation technique which allows a flexible design of layer-type GDEs with tuneable properties (wetting behaviour, catalyst concentration) or gradient materials.

Minimizing catalyst load and maximizing catalyst utilization can be achieved using platinum supported on high surface area nanocarbon materials, such as carbon nanofibers, graphite nanofibers multi-wall carbon nanotubes, although the effective attachment of Pt nanoparticles onto CNTs, for instance, remains a challenging task.


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Sep 24 2011

WHAT is a fuel cell?

A Fuel Cell is an electrochemical device that continuously converts the chemical energy of the fuel (hydrogen) and an oxidant to DC electrical energy, heat and other reaction product (water). This reaction occurs inside the Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA), an electrolyte membrane sandwiched between two gas diffusion electrodes.


Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs) are suitable for stationary, transport and portable energy applications.

In hydrogen-based energy systems, Fuel Cells are the technology of choice to maximize the potential benefits in term of energy efficiency, improved energy security and zero-emission.


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Sep 18 2011

End User Energy Cost with Portable Power Sources

Three major criteria should to be considered to choose a portable power source. The weight of the system, the cost of the energy produced and type of the fuel are the key drivers.

Continue Reading »

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Jul 17 2011

Uninterruptible Power Systems

Over 50% of failures for critical loads are due to the electrical supply and the hourly cost of downtime for the corresponding applications is generally very high. It is therefore vital for the modern economy, which is increasingly dependent on digital technologies, to solve the problems affecting the quality and the availability of the power supplied by the distribution system when it is intended for sensitive loads.

Digital equipment (computers, telecom systems, instruments, etc.) use microprocessors that operate at frequencies of several mega or even giga Hertz, i.e. they carry out millions or even billions of operations per second. A disturbance in the electrical supply lasting just a few milliseconds can affect thousands or millions of basic operations. The result may be malfunctions and loss of data with dangerous (e.g. airports, hospitals) or costlyconsequences (e.g. loss of production).

More than 35 years after they first appeared, Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPSs) now represent more than 95% of back up power interfaces sold and over 98% for sensitive IT and electronics applications. Acting as an interface between the mains and sensitive applications, UPSs supply the load with continuous, high quality electrical power regardless of the status of the mains.

UPSs deliver a dependable supply voltage free from all mains disturbances, within tolerances compatible with the requirements of sensitive electronic devices. UPS can also provide this dependable voltage independently by means of a power source (battery) which is generally sufficient to ensure the safety of individuals and the installation.

UPSs are currently made up of three main sub-assemblies :

  • a rectifier-charger to transform the alternating current into direct current and charge the battery;
  • a set of batteries (generally lead-acid type) enabling energy to be stored and instantly recovered as required over a 5 to 30 minutes period, or even more;
  • a static converter to convert this direct voltage into an alternating voltage that is perfectly regulated and filtered in terms of voltage and/or frequency.

Use of Batteries lead-acid has several relevant limitation, health and environmental problem:

  • Low energy density – poor weight-to-energy ratio limits
  • Cannot be stored in a discharged condition
  • Allows only a limited number of full discharge cycles – well suited for standby applications that require only occasional deep discharges.
  • Lead content and electrolyte make the battery environmentally unfriendly.
  • Transportation restrictions on flooded lead acid – there are environmental concerns regarding spillage.
  • Thermal runaway can occur if improperly charged
  • Elevated temperature reduces longevity

Due to these relevant problems, Fuel Cells are becoming the technology choice for Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPS),  and PEMFC are being taken up by end-users in the telecoms, utilities, IT and other industry sectors.

The potential to move into formal system implementation in the field is driven by the Total Cost of Ownership gains resulting from the substitution of batteries by fuel cells.

These gains can be very significant in areas where grids are unstable (Asia, Africa, India) but are still significant in Europe where grid networks are quite stable.

Power sources  like G300 HFC and G300 HPS are ideal substitute technologies to lead-acid based UPS.

Quick start up, no environmental and acoustic emission, reliability, shock resistance, light weight are key advantages enabling Genport power source to fully satisfy requirements of small portable UPS, utilized in field surgical hospitals, mobile army medical corps, yachts, tactical telecoms units.

Power, Current and Voltage profile of G300 HFC. Voltage is stable (not decreasing as battery) while current is dynamically changing following the load demand.


G300 HFC powers a mobile communication system

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Jun 30 2011

GP300 HFC: EMC and water immersion tests

We are completing all the electrical and mechanical tests, aiming to certify our portable GP300 HFC system, in order to obtain the CE.

In particular, in recent weeks we have carried out with our generator GP300 HFC electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and water immersion tests (see photos below).

EMC tests aim to detect any electromagnetic emission of the device and also include susceptibility testing of the generator to external magnetic fields.




Tests of deep immersion in water, instead, want to prove that the device is perfectly sealed and water-proof (think of all those nautical/sealing applications or GP300 HFC ‘s use in the marine environment).

Yesterday, it was the ideal day to test our portable generator in extreme conditions, with a storm coming. We launched the system in Como lake and we dipped it in water for several minutes.

GP300 HFC has fully maintained its isolation from water and when opened it was completely dry and ready to be turned!


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Jun 06 2011

Genport has moved at Vimercate

Published by genportadministrator under Events

Since June the 1st, Genport has expanded and relocated at the Technology Park in Vimercate (MB), within an area of more than 300 square meters.

Vimercate Technology Park was founded in 2006 in a location with a great history, because of the existing Companies, buildings architecture and green around.

Along the time, the Park has always been a benchmark because of the leadership of the resident Companies.

These are our new address, phone and fax numbers:


Via Lecco, 61

20871 - Vimercate (MB)


R&D, Production:

Tel.: +39 039 63 96 501

Fax.: +39 039 63 96 502


Tel.: +39 039 63 96 500

Fax.: +39 039 63 96 502



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May 26 2011

GP300 HFC: qualification tests

GenPort 300 Hybrid Fuel Cell is our innovative portable fuel cell system designed to maximize power density, reduce to zero noise, thermal signature, pollution, vibration and provide a constant, reliable source of power. It is based on PEMFC and Battery Technologies, designed as a versatile power source, for any lightweight, off-the-grid, high energy density application.

GP300 HFC can operate as Battery Charger (BC), Auxiliary Power Units (APU). Different fuels system can be used with it, such as compressed hydrogen, metal hydrides, chemical hydrides (GenFuel) supplied in cartridges; in alternative, in order to solve definitely logistic problems for the delivery of the fuel, GP300 HFC can be integrated into an off-grid renewable energy system.

The implementation phase of the generator has been completed, so that GP300 HFC is actually in the process to be industrialized.

By the end of July 2011 we will complete all the electrical and mechanical tests, which aim to certify GP300 HFC, in order to obtain the CE. Several units will be realized later for our partners.

In parallel with the system certification, several functional tests have already been made (up to temperatures of 40°C) and now we are about to launch a test program, designed to verify operation of the system even at subzero temperatures (up to -20°C). More than one year, GP300 HFC was subjected to an intensive test campaign to check the system’s compliance with the functional and environmental requirements. In particular, functional tests were performed with electro-medical devices and portable mobile telecommunication systems (see the picture below). All these tests will be completed in July, in conjunction with the system certification.

The tests to be applied to GP300 HFC are both electrical and mechanical.

Electrical ones include:

  • electromagnetic compatibility: electromagnetic emission tests of the device and susceptibility testing of the generator to external magnetic fields;
  • electrical safety tests to demonstrate compliance with standards and obtain CE marking.

Mechanical tests, instead, include:

  • shock, vibrations and drop tests to examine the mechanical strength of the whole;
  • compliance testing to IP66-67 degree of the case during transport.

We will keep you updated in the coming weeks, as individual tests will be carried out on GP300 HFC!


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