Today, the power supply of remote block valve stations without connection to the public power grid is often realised with inefficient or high-maintenance generators, such as TEGs or gensets. PV installations and batteries are often affected by vandalism and theft. As part of a critical infrastructure, there are high requirements defined for safety, technical availability, reaction and autonomy times, which makes these installations very costly in some cases.
Regarding emission and cost reduction, there are now alternatives in the form of ceramic-based high-temperature fuel cells (SOFC) available, that can be fuelled with Natural gas or Propane. These devices have proven many times in other industries, such as telecommunications, security and railway. Using the concrete example of such a block valve station at the Sabah-Sarawak gas pipeline on Borneo / Malaysia, it will be shown how a conversion to the use of fuel cell generators can be realised and what benefits it brings for the end user.
First, technical aspects of the installation, the connection to an existing SCADA system, and the possible combination with photovoltaics and measures to increase the security of supply are introduced. Furthermore, a comparison is made with other generation technologies widely used in the market regarding lifetime costs and emissions. Finally, further examples of the application of high-temperature fuel cells as primary energy generators in critical infrastructure installations are presented and an outlook on future fuel cell development over the next five years is given.