Energy product testing services test, evaluate, and analyze the safety, efficiency and performance of energy storage, power generation, and transmission systems. They may specialize in energy systems that use conventional power, or systems that rely upon renewable or alternative energy. Conventional power technologies burn carbon or hydrocarbon fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. In addition to these fossil fuels, conventional power includes large-scale hydroelectric power and nuclear power generation. Energy product testing services that specialize in renewable energy products and alternative energy products are also available. Technologies include photovoltaics (PV), fuel cells, inverters and converters, engine generators, and hydrogen products.
Energy product testing services may analyze and evaluate energy storage technologies such as batteries and accumulators, compressed air and gas, flywheels, electromagnetic methods, reversible fuel cells, supercapacitors, and pumped hydro-storage systems. Batteries are disposable or rechargeable devices that store electrical energy in chemical form. If a battery’s energy-to-power ratio is unsuitable for an application, compressed air may be used. Flywheels are devices that store kinetic energy in a rotating mass. By contrast, super-conducting magnetic energy storage systems (SMES) store energy in the magnetic field of a coil. Reversible fuel cells generate current from an electrochemical process that involves hydrogen and oxygen. Supercapacitors and ultra-capacitors store energy in the electric field between two electrodes. Energy product testing services that evaluate pumped hydro-storage systems are also available.
Energy product testing services that specialize in renewable energy systems may analyze and evaluate photovoltaic (PV) products, fuel cells, hydrogen products, and distributed generation (DG) technologies. Most PV technologies use silicon as a semiconductor to generate a flow of direct current (DC) electricity; Thin-film and molecular PV products are also available. Unlike photovoltaics, fuel cells are electromechanical devices that convert hydrogen or hydrogen-rich gas into electricity. Hydrogen is generated directly, or drawn from conversion devices that are designed to work with hydrocarbons such as gasoline, natural gas, and methanol. Energy product testing services that specialize in hydrogen products determine the safety, efficiency and performance of these systems.
With distributed generation (DG) sources, inverters or converters must be used. Energy product testing services ensure that these devices provide alternating current (AC) power at a usable voltage and frequency, both for connection to an electric power grid and for off-grid loads. Typically, inverters and converters are used with PV panels, fuel cells, and wind turbines. Energy product testing services may also work with engine generators, electricity-producing assemblies that can provide backup power.