EMERGENCY CONTACT: Fuel cells enable backup power
BY MIRANDA VAGG/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Fuel cell technology provides efficient and clean energy.
The Fuel Cells for Emergency Communications program is a combination of
efforts from the New York Power Authority and the New York State
Police. The $434,000 program will be used to set up fuel cell
technology enabling backup power at 22 public safety communications
facilities, including one in Albion.
"These fuel cell installations will keep state communications on-line
when they are often needed the most, during power outages and other
emergency situations," said Timothy S. Carey, NYPA's president and
chief executive officer in a statement released Thursday.
The implementation of hydrogen backup power for state communications
facilities across New York will work to keep people informed during
The New York State Department of Transportation tower located in Albion
is a communications tower utilized by both the State Police and DOT,
said DOT Assistant Engineer Rich Lovelace.
The facility handles communications in Western New York and was
disabled during the October snow emergency. The use of fuel cell backup
power in the future would allow communications facilities to operate as
normal in the event of a power outage.
"Part of it is they'll be able to generate electricity for the
tower in the event of a power failure," Lovelace said.
The hydrogen fuel would be brought to the site in a container
comparable to a propane tank, which is then hooked into a unit on the
energy transmitter, converting hydrogen into energy, according to
Currently New York State is also working on building a statewide
wireless communications network so state workers don't have to depend
on Verizon, Cingular or other wireless providers, according to
Lovelace. The network would allow for open communication between crews
that would otherwise not be available if communication towers are
disabled and left without a backup energy supply.
"It's been in the works for a while," Lovelace said. "I think a
lot of people are going to do this throughout the country. (Hurricane)
Katrina was a pretty good lesson learned."
The fuel cell technology that would be used to power the communications
tower is a clean energy technology, according to Carey.
"The Power Authority has undertaken more than a dozen fuel cell
projects, in various types of applications using different fuel
sources, to demonstrate reductions in air pollution and the advantages
of distributed power supply," he said.
Unlike traditional technologies, which can be "unpredictable,
expensive to maintain and harmful to the environment," the fuel cells
offer backup power without damaging the environment through emission,
Funding for the FC4EC program will be provided from Petroleum
Overcharge Restitution funds. The money comes from proceeds of court
settlements relating to oil company violations of federal price
controls in the 1970s and 1980s.
Contact Miranda Vagg at (585) 798-1400, Ext. 2225.
15 years ago