Earlier this month the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Google regarding a new fuel cell system. New developments in fuel cell technology have generated promising developments for reducing energy cost for large scale consumers. However, fuel cells require a well maintained infrastructure. Potential infrastructure failures and associated maintenance requirements can result in undesirable down-time for many operators. Google's invention relates to module level redundancy for fuel cell systems.
Google's Patent Background
People currently have greater access to information and person-to-person connectivity than ever before. Advances in computing technology and the internet are continually changing the ways that people access and share information. Millions of people have the capability to generate content, such as articles, songs, videos, etc. that can be shared with people across the globe in almost real-time. In addition, the rapid growth of mobile communication devices, such as smart phones and tablet computers, enable people to enjoy these services from anywhere in the world.
As the number of countries and people participating in the digital revolution increases, so does the demand for energy to power the devices and technology. Experts predict that in the coming decades global energy consumption may more than double. Cost associated with powering servers and other devices that form the backbone of on-line services represent a major expense for operators. In addition, consumers expect on-line services and products to be continuously available. As a result, it is critical for operators to have access to substantial amounts of reliable and affordable energy.
Typically, operators have limited options for powering servers and associated equipment. Power is obtained from a local energy provider, and operators attempt to mitigate energy consumption cost by employing energy efficient equipment. Recently, new developments in fuel cell technology have generated promising developments for reducing energy cost for large scale consumers. However, fuel cells require a well maintained infrastructure. Potential infrastructure failures and associated maintenance requirements can result in undesirable down-time for many operators.
Google's patent FIG. 1 illustrates a non-limiting example of a system for module level redundancy for fuel cell systems
Google Invents Module Level Redundancy for Fuel Cell Systems
Google's invention generally relates to systems and methods for module level redundancy for fuel cell systems as noted in patent FIG.1 below. In one implementation, a monitoring component monitors a set of operational parameters for a fuel cell group. The fuel cell group includes a set of fuel cell units, each having a set of fuel cell stacks. The fuel cell stacks include a set of gas powered fuel cells that convert air and fuel into electricity using a chemical reaction.
In one implementation, a monitoring component monitors a set of operational parameters for a fuel cell group, and determines that the operational parameters don't satisfy a set of operational criteria, and in response to the determination that the set of operational parameters do not satisfy the set of operational criteria, a load balancing component adjusts the electrical output capacity of a set of fuel cell units included in the fuel cell group.
Google's patent FIG. 5 illustrates an example load balancing component in accordance with various aspects of this invention.
Handheld, portable and other computing devices and computing objects of all kinds are contemplated for use in connection with invention. The computer may operate in a networked or distributed environment using logical connections to one or more other remote computers, such as remote computer. The remote computer may be a personal computer, a server, a router, a network PC, a peer device or other common network node, or any other remote media consumption or transmission device. Networking environments are commonplace in homes, offices, enterprise-wide computer networks, intranets and the Internet.
Google filed their patent application back in Q3 2012. For details behind Google's fuel cell system, see their patent filing here. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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