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Hydrogen-supercapacitor rural microgrid

Tapah, Malaysia

The 100 inhabitants of the Malaysian mountainside village of ‘Orang Asli’, close to the town of Tapah, had been completely off-grid until 2019, relying solely on candles and kerosene for lighting. This innovative microgrid now bringing light and communications to the village is a first for SE Asia, if not the world: The hydrogen created by an AEM Electrolyser provides lossless long-term energy storage and is integrated with supercapacitors instead of a battery system – combining and showcasing two of the most novel technologies at the forefront of energy storage. Both technologies are almost fully recyclable, as the supercapacitors are not hazardous at end of life.

During daylight hours, the grid uses its solar power directly, with excess energy charging the supercapacitors and then converting to hydrogen. Night-time demand is first supplied by the supercapacitors, with a fuel cell converting hydrogen to supply remaining energy requirements. Funded and implemented by project developer PESTECH, the system now supplies the community with 100% clean energy, 24 hours a day, and will be expanded to cater for new households and increasing energy demand attracted by its success. The project has paved the way for a further rural electrification pilot – and potentially large-scale implementation of such microgrids in Malaysia.

Electrolyser (AEM single-core) 1 x EL 2.0
H2 storage 0.5 m3, 20 kWh of useable energy
Storage pressure 35 bar
Photovoltaic (PV) 4.7 kWp
Fuel cell 1.1 kW
Supercapacitor 10 kWh
Operational since 2019

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