Fuel Cell Powers Mobile Light Tower

October 6, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

DOE energy manageThere are about 100,000 diesel-powered mobile lighting towers in the United States, illuminating everything from airport runways and construction sites to movie sets.

An Energy Department-supported project is designing, building, and testing a mobile lighting tower powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology. The fuel cell mobile light (H2LT) offers a cleaner, quieter alternative to diesel-powered units.

The Energy Department, Boeing, Multiquip, Altergy Systems, and other private sector partners provided the initial funding for the H2LT technology, which was developed at Sandia National Laboratories. Instead of a traditional diesel-powered light tower, H2LT uses hydrogen gas (stored in the system), polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology, and energy efficient lamps to illuminate work areas while discharging little to no emissions.

Researchers conducted field tests of H2LT prototypes over the span of about four years to determine how well the technology performed in several functions and weather conditions. Among other tests, the system was used by airport construction personnel at San Francisco International Airport (pictured).

Photo by Dino Vournas

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