Plug Power Shines Brightly on Alcatraz Island National Park

By Darin Painter, Executive Director for Sales, Stationary

Alcatraz Island
photo by Robert Kaufman

California’s Alcatraz Island has a rich and robust history.  Once a Civil War fortress and infamous federal prison, it is now a national park serving approximately 5,000 visitors each day.  This means that any maintenance activities typically occur in the evenings, after the tourists have left.

Plug Power partner, Luxfer-GTM Technologies, provides portable hydrogen fuel cell-powered light towers – called Zero-Set Lite – which use Plug Power GenSure fuel cells as the power inside.  The Zero-Set Lite uses hydrogen fuel, which is purchased from any of the growing number of fueling stations around California, to provide up to 36 hours of continuous LED lighting.

In the Fall of 2016, the Zero-Set Lite provided critical working light for a scheduled overnight barge exchange operation at Alcatraz Island National Park.  The project was undertaken by Alcatraz Cruises, Alcatraz Island’s official National Park Service ferry service concessioner.

The Zero-Set Lite was transported by boat across the San Francisco Bay and hoisted by crane onto the Island in order to support the operation.  While the Alcatraz Cruises crew and subcontractors worked throughout the night to facilitate the safe barge exchange during inclement weather, the tower consistently provided bright, clean, and quiet lighting, allowing crews to see and hear each other clearly in the challenging working conditions.

Alcatraz barge exchange
photo by Robert Kaufman

Julian Rose, Special Projects Manager for Hornblower Cruises and Events noted, “Until now it has just been a given that if you needed portable light and power, you were also going to get lots of noise and diesel fumes – and what we found is that that’s just not true anymore.  The hydrogen fuel cell light tower did a great job of lighting up the work area, and it also made it possible to have a normal conversation in the area with no noise or fumes.  The light tower also follows the time-honored maritime K.I.S.S. principle, which stands for: ‘Keep It Simple Sailor’, in that you can power the unit on and off with the simple push of a button, and there is zero chance of a fuel spill.”

The Zero-Set Lite hydrogen fuel cell light tower is another example of how Plug Power customers and partners are powering innovation that makes sense in the real world.  #InfiniteDrive

Zero-Set Lite
photo by Robert Kaufman