Terrapin Control Systems switch project has been going on for seven weeks. It should be completed in eight weeks. The project has lagged because of power interruptions which have affected tests being carried out. An alternative power supply is required to ensure an uninterrupted process. A fuel cell is the most appropriate power back-up for this project as compared to a diesel generator or batteries. A fuel cell is cost-effective and performs well at a wide range of temperatures.
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The current power supply is used fat Terrapin is prone to interruptions. This has greatly affected the progress of the project. Terrapin Control Systems are conducted under two extreme temperature conditions. One is carried out at very cold temperatures while the other at very hot conditions. To maintain these temperatures, the power supply should not be uninterrupted. Because of frequent power interruptions, not all tests are successful.
The deadline for handing over findings cannot be extended by the client. In case of failure to hand over results by the deadline, a fine of $ 1000 per day would be charged. In case the deadline is violated by seven days; the total fine translates to $ 7000 which is a big loss to the company. A technician can be assigned duties to watch the tests and ensure gadgets are not destroyed in case there is a power interruption. However, this cannot prevent power failure at all. Furthermore, tests cannot be completed. The cost of employing a technician is cheaper but not effective. A better option is required to solve the current problem.
Available power backup alternatives are discussed below
Batteries are the most flexible and readily available power back-up. They are available as single dry cells or multiple large battery facilities. Batteries can be recharged or replaced when exhausted (Rasmussen, 2009).
Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity. Methanol or natural gas is used as a source of fuel. Fuel cells are available in different power capacities. Therefore, it can be used for a wide range of power needs (Mench, 2008). It is an efficient and cost-effective power source. Over the years, it has been improved to perform better in extreme conditions. It can operate at temperatures of -35oC to 45oC. The cell’s durability depends on the environment under which it operates. It emits a small number of pollutants making it an environmentally friendly source.
Diesel fuel generators can stay for a very long time in service. The maintenance of the diesel generator is low as compared to the gasoline generator. This generator is safe to use in a wide range of conditions. This is attributed to the low flammability of diesel. The generator should be compressed to ignite. Diesel engines are reliable compared to natural gas generators because the latter needs spark ignition. However, it emits a lot of exhaust in form of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide which is not environmentally friendly. During its operation, the diesel generator makes a lot of noise-causing noise pollution (Rasmussen, 2009).
The Terrapin Control Systems switch project requires a power source of 4kv to run efficiently. Most of the power backup alternatives are available in various specifications. When Batteries are connected, they give the required power (Rasmussen, 2009). Diesel generators and fuel cells do not have exact capacities for the required power. A fuel cell is the best solution for the Terrapin Control Systems switch testing project. One power source can be used for both conditions without interfering with performance (Mench, 2008).
Cost of Power back-up
Several companies lease out fuel cells to clients. However, purchasing one is more economical than leasing. The cost of a 5kv fuel cell which uses a maximum of five liters of ethanol every day is $1375. This translates to ten dollars per day for fuel. For eight weeks, the total cost of ethanol is $560. The final cost of buying and running is much less than leasing. Furthermore, future projects may require power back-up too. It is cost-effective to purchase a fuel cell than to lease one.
A diesel generator cannot operate efficiently at temperatures below 0oC. On the other hand, batteries require another source of power to recharge. Other batteries must be replaced after sometimes. One power backup can be used for both deep freeze and oven if the fuel cell is installed.
It is advisable to have a power back-up installed instead of keeping a technician at the testing center all the time because it is expensive for the company. A technician is paid every time he/she goes to the testing center even if there is no power interruption. On the other hand, Fuel cell goes on only when there is a power interruption. Fuel is used only when there is a power interruption. Furthermore, a technician onsite cannot prevent interruption or provide power back-up; instead, he/she ensures that equipment is not destroyed. Therefore, the fuel cell is cheaper to buy and more advisable than any of the above options.
Mench, Matthew. Fuel Cell Engines. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
Rasmussen, Neil. Alternative Power Generation Technologies for Data Centers and Network Rooms. White Paper 64, 2009. Web.