Arcola Theatre launches HyLight, its first fuel cell product, and creates new fuel cell retail business Arcola Energy Ltd

London’s Arcola Theatre launches its first in-house designed and manufactured fuel cell product HyLight and announces the creation of a new trading company Arcola Energy Ltd to develop the commercial aspects of its international award winning arts & sustainability programme.

Developed with regular Arcola partners BOC (global industrial gas supplier), and White Light (leading supplier of lighting equipment and services to the entertainment industry), HyLight is a unique portable lighting and power supply to provide illumination in locations away from the electrical grid, silently and without the emissions of traditional noisy, polluting diesel generators.

HyLight is packaged in a compact wheeled flight-case, rugged for transportation and easy to deploy. The system includes the new Hymera hydrogen fuel cell generator from BOC, two of BOC’s new lightweight compressed hydrogen cylinders, and a choice of low energy LED lighting systems suitable for architectural, live event or safety applications.

To ensure reliable operation and provide added flexibility, HyLight’s power control system allows seamless switching between mains power, fuel cell power and battery back-up (1 hour). An LCD display provides real-time operating information and user prompts, whilst a data-logger records second-by-second performance. Online tools allow users to analyse their usage profile and determine the carbon footprint of their activities.

With a rated power output of 150W (200W peak), HyLight will provide many hours of safe, low-voltage power between refills. Run time with a 100W load is 30 hours per hydrogen cylinder. Furthermore, as run-time is directly proportional to load (in marked contrast to diesel generators), in lower power applications such as cordless tool charging, run times of several days are possible from a single hydrogen cylinder. A built-in 240V outlet can supply ancilliary equipment.

“HyLight is the result of several years of hugely productive collaboration Arcola has enjoyed with BOC and White Light,” comments Dr Ben Todd, Executive Director at Arcola Theatre, “and of a recent research and development project we undertook with the support of the Technology Strategy Board and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Their support allowed us to innovate rapidly together, taking lessons we have learnt with running low-energy lighting from the 5kW fuel cell we have at Arcola Theatre and combining that experience with the latest hydrogen and fuel cell technology from BOC to create a small, portable package that offers lower total cost of ownership than diesel generators – and many other practical benefits as well.”

“We don’t expect our customers to necessarily care about the history or technology of the hydrogen fuel cell,” comments Bryan Raven, White Light’s Managing Director. “What we do expect is that they will care greatly that they can have a lighting system that is clean, silent and portable, perfect for lighting events in gardens, parks or remote locations”.

Leyla Nazli, Executive Producer at Arcola Theatre said “Having engineers developing clean energy technologies right here in Arcola Theatre is part of our future vision. Artists imagining sustainable futures must witness first hand the possibilities for change, so to work side-by-side with engineers is invaluable”.

David Bott, Director of Innovation Platforms at the Technology Strategy Board said “this is a great story of a company taking ownership of its carbon emissions and applying its expertise to tackle the problem“.


More details and hi-resolution images:

Contact: Ben Todd at Arcola Theatre on 020 7503 1645 or


Fuel Cells were invented by William Grove in 1839 and have enjoyed a variety of uses since, including as part of the Apollo space programme. Hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells are currently being investigated by many industries, with Honda already offering an experimental hydrogen fuel cell electric car in the USA and suppliers such as BOC working to provide hydrogen from renewable resources.

Arcola Theatre was founded in 2000 by its present Artistic Director Mehmet Ergen and Executive Producer Leyla Nazli. From humble origins Arcola has grown to become an important London and UK venue serving both as receiving house and producer of its own critically acclaimed work. Arcola has strong links with the local community, delivering an extensive programme of participatory arts for all ages. Since the launch in 2007 of Arcola Energy, the theatre has been working with local and international partners across arts, sciences and engineering to drive mass adoption of sustainable lifestyles. Arcola Theatre is a Regularly Funded Organisation of Arts Council England.

Arcola Energy is a multi-disciplinary agent for sustainable innovation. It operates in two modes: 1) commercially, developing and retailing cutting-edge low carbon products especially fuel cells; and 2) as an award-winning not-for-profit project of Arcola Theatre, driving sustainability in the arts.

BOC is a member of The Linde Group. An industrial and speciality gases provider, the company supplies compressed and bulk gases, chemicals and equipment.

White Light is a leading supplier of lighting to the entertainment industry including hire, sales, installation and service.

The Technology Strategy Board is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB), established by the Government in 2007 and sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). It is dedicated to promoting technology-enabled innovation across the UK.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was created in October 2008, to bring together energy policy and climate change mitigation policy.

Go to Arcola Energy

One thought on “Arcola Theatre launches HyLight, its first fuel cell product, and creates new fuel cell retail business Arcola Energy Ltd

  1. Lawrence Weisdorn says:

    Every day we are getting closer to leaving fossil fuels behind. Keep up the innovations.

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