Remote off-grid power for CCTV surveillance cameras provides road network security

Around 4,300 miles of motorways and trunk roads make up the strategic road network in England. It’s important that key parts of this network are constantly monitored to prevent disruption to the flow of traffic that can be caused by bad weather, accidents and breakdowns. Security alerts also pose another threat to the UK road networks. A terrorist attack on one of the UK’s major highways, tunnels or bridges could be devastating.

Audio and video surveillance has become commonplace because it’s a cost-effective way of protecting assets and people. However, one of the problems that security experts face in deploying stationary or portable CCTV in remote locations is that there is often no access to grid electricity.

Having considered all other options, Simulation Systems (SSL) chose a fuel cell as the best solution for maintaining CCTV coverage in areas remote from accessible mains power supplies. SSL asked UPS Systems – and its subsidiary company Fuel Cell Systems (FCS) – to supply a fuel cell solution to ensure its CCTV remained constantly operational.

UPS Systems and FCS provided an EFOY Pro 2200 fuel cell, which essentially acted as a self-contained battery charger for a single 12-volt battery. It was used to provide power for the CCTV cameras, 3G interface and IT routers.  Fuel cells will produce power 24/7 regardless of the weather conditions (unlike some renewable energy alternatives). This makes them viable for off-grid CCTV surveillance and security applications, as well as standby power. As long as there is an ample supply of fuel, the fuel cells will supply power for as long as it is needed.

Simulation Systems said: “As we’re based in Bristol our maintenance teams would have faced 200 mile return trips to the West Midlands every couple of days to replace the discharged batteries. The fuel cell saved us a considerable amount of time and money. As no one in the industry at this time was using fuel cell technology for this particular application, we were very keen to see how it performed under strenuous conditions.”

Simulation Systems has been so impressed with the results that it is now looking at integrating off-grid fuel cell technology at notorious accident black spots along busy stretches of the UK’s road network.

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