An Israeli company that aims to replace the noisy diesel-fed generators with zero-emission fuel cell technology has chosen the Philippines as its Asian hub.
“Diesel generator belongs to the past. The worldwide legislation right now is against diesel,” Rami Reshef, CEO of GenCell Energy, says in an interview at The Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City.
“The world must reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030. We believe that with GenCell, we can contribute a small bit to this by eliminating the combustion engine, eliminating the use of fossil fuel or diesel generator,” says Reshef.
Established in 2011, GenCell develops fuel cell solutions to provide the world with a stable source of clean energy. Its hydrogen-based solutions produce no emissions, noise or vibrations and are available with a weather-proof shelter that is resistant to storms, floods and earthquakes.
It tapped Amorele Technology Inc., a local technology solutions provider based in Biñan, Laguna to distribute its products in the Philippines. GenCell offers to back up local businesses such as bank ATMs, medical clinics, telecommunication facilities, utilities and manufacturing plants with a constant source of clean energy that can withstand earthquakes and typhoons.
“Blackout is the fear of every utility in the world because nobody can prevent an earthquake or typhoon. Based on statistics, the cost is around P5 billion to the Philippine economy for a one-hour downtime. This type of solution can avoid this blackout. The quality of life will also dramatically go up,” says Reshef.
“The role of fuel cell is to try to immune the distribution channels, try to look at the critical points in the economy and improve the quality of life in the Philippines by providing emission-free energy and greater availability of power,” he says.
Reshef says the fuel cell technology, developed as early as 1839 by Welsh lawyer and scientist William Robert Grove, offers ultra-reliable, zero-emission and long-duration energy. He says GenCell uses the same breakthrough technology that has powered American and Russian spacecraft.
Power is produced from the electrochemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, the same elements that comprise water. “This is 100-percent green. So we are generating green energy,” he says.
“You take oxygen and hydrogen and you have H20 or water. We are making water. As a byproduct of making this water, we have energy. We capture this energy and this is what we are using,” Reshef explains.
Reshef says GenCell came from the words generator and fuel cells. As a business, he says GenCell aims to do good not only for the shareholders but also for humanity.
In the Philippines, he says GenCell offers backup power to ensure that the critical points in the economy will keep running despite natural disasters such as typhoons, floods and earthquake. He says that unlike other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, GenCell is not weather-dependent.
He says it can also provide 24-hour power to islands which are not connected to the power grid. “As a company, we are going after these two markets. We provide a long duration backup for the critical points in the economy such as banks, medical facilities, telecommunication and anything that develops the economy. Second, we are going after remote areas where power is not there. We offer an ultimate solution to deliver green, weather-independent and cost-effective solutions,” he says.
Reshef says that unlike the existing generators, GenCell products are free of vibration, noise and emissions. “There is flexibility because there is no combustion engine, no moving parts and it involves an electrochemical process,” he says.
He says that in terms of cost, fuel cell is cheaper than diesel. “Our running cost is a third to half lower than diesel. With GenCell, you have a new technology than can challenge diesel, not only in terms of environmental effect but also in terms of financial effect,” he says.
Reshef says he is looking at the Philippines as the hub of GenCell in the entire Asia. “Two years ago, we started our exploration in the Philippines. We found out that the Philippines has the right mixture of challenging infrastructure, and it has a very promising economy and business community. Shortly after we started our exploration, we have committed to a relationship with Amorele, and we have already opened a demo center and right now we are heavily involved in several segments such as telecommunication, medical facilities and financial institutions,” he says.
He says the company plans to bring the technology to the Philippines and hire engineers to assemble the GenCell devices here.
“We are an Israeli company. All our R&D and production are in Israel. We are active in Europe and North America, Central America and South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. We believe that the Philippine market has the right culture for us. What we want to do in the future is not only to bring the products, but also to bring the technology. It means we can produce it over here to serve different countries. I would say the language, the culture, the way that code of business we found here in the Philippines really fits with our culture,” he says.
“We love the Philippines. We enjoy working with our partners here. Our plan is to build presence here and develop our offering to different markets such as telecom, the utilities, banks and eventually we would like to make sure we have strong presence that will allow us to bring this technology to the Philippines, not only as a closed box. We are looking at assembling the products in the Philippines in the future,” Reshef says.
Reshef says the company can also help the Philippine government address the issue of global warming. “Seven million people die each year from pollution. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming in excess of 1.5-degree Centigrade will put millions more at risk. The world scientists have sounded a clear alarm about climate issue,” he says.
“GenCell is completely green, with zero emission. I believe that this will be our contribution to the global warming campaign,” he says.
GenCell is also looking at expanding to the automotive sector as a part of its next-generation business. “Definitely, you can have public transportation running on hydrogen fuel cell. This is something that we as a company is already working on, and we are planning to bring it to the market,” Reshef says.
Alain Caparanga of Amorele Technology says noisy, leaking and polluting generators cause harm to the environment while GenCell solutions provide a resilient and sustainable alternative.
GenCell products include GenCell G5 Long-Duration UPS, an alkaline fuel cell that runs on hydrogen cylinders to provide critical back-up for indoor and outdoor applications; GenCell G5RX which comes with a protective shelter built and certified to withstand 7.2 magnitude earthquakes; and GenCell A5 Off-Grid Power Solution, an ammonia-based off-grid fuel cell power solution that extracts hydrogen from liquid ammonia.
GenCell now has a working unit that powers the whole showroom of Amorele in Biñan, Laguna.
Reshef says nobody can ignore anymore the impact of global warming. “Everybody needs to start in his backyard. I am calling on the business community and the government to look into sustainable, green solutions. The time is now before it becomes too late,” he says.
“There are moments that we as people have to take responsibility. We have to make sure we are leaving behind for the next generation a world that is sustainable,” says Reshef.
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