Market Transformation

In the Fuel Cell Mobile Light project, Sandia co-invented a mobile lighting tower combining a 5 kW fuel cell with advanced solid-state plasma lighting to create an exceptionally quiet, zero-emission portable light fixture.

Sandia brings its metal hydride storage expertise, system engineering of combined hydrogen storage/fuel cell systems, and hydrogen safety/codes and standards experience to the project, along with project leadership. A prototype has been recently used on the “red carpet” at the 2010 Academy Awards Show (Figure 1), and at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards (Figure 2). Sandia will lead the use of five such fuel cell mobile lights at a variety of host institutions including the Kennedy Space Center, Paramount Pictures, and the California Department of Transportation.

In collaboration with Boeing, Sandia is investigating the benefits of using proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells onboard commercial aircraft. In this project, Sandia employs its system engineering analysis capabilities regarding fuel cell operation, hydrogen storage technology, and distributed electrical systems analysis to assess the use of PEM fuel cells for both galley power and in-flight entertainment power on board the more-electric Boeing 787 aircraft. The potential to save fuel required to service electrical needs on the aircraft is shown in Figure 3.


Figure 1. Fuel cell mobile light in use at the 2010 Academy Awards. (Photo courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences [AMPAS

Figure 2: The fuel cell mobile light illuminates the construction of the red carpet at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards. (Photo courtesy of Ron Roy Productions)














Figure 3:Analysis shows that using a PEM fuel cell fueled with H2 can lead to approximately 30% reduction in the jet fuel required by the electrical system, assuming the most recent DOE targets for fuel cell technology and hydrogen storage are met.

Contact: Lennie Klebanoff, (925) 294-3371,