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Air Liquide installs first fuel cell on isolated site in Belgium
French multinational company Air Liquide recently started up the first hydrogen fuel cell system on a remote site in Belgium, reports Renewable Energy Focus. This fuel cell solution is an alternative power supply for telecom antennas in isolated locations, which are difficult to connect to the power grid, while also reducing CO2 emissions. The site in Wemmel, operated by telecom firm Belgacom, has been powered since the end of January by a hydrogen PEM fuel cell system developed by Axane, a subsidiary of the Air Liquide Group. The full service fuel cell solution includes the hydrogen supply, system operations, and maintenance of the fuel cell, as well as telemonitoring of the system. To offer its users optimal coverage throughout Belgium, Belgacom sets up antennas in sites that are isolated from the power grid. While awaiting connection to the grid, these antennas are temporarily powered by generators. Belgacom is now testing fuel cell technology, to develop antennas powered by a silent, reliable, and high-performance energy supply that could replace these generators. Air Liquide says that, from the production of hydrogen to its use, a fuel cell system reduces CO2 emissions by 35 tonnes per annum compared with a generator.