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PHOTO CAPTION: Bloom Energy BloomBox fuel cells.

Fuel Cells Making Power Generation Inroads

From Whole Foods to Ebay, companies are installing hydrogen fuel cells as back-up power and to provide up to 90 percent of power usage, as well as heating and cooling.

Published: 11-Jun-2012

Fuel cells powering cars are nearing their destination. But those used to provide electricity to the masses still have many miles to go. More practical, though, is using fuel cell technology to supply onsite power generation to specific businesses that cannot afford even a momentary outage.

To the extent that those enterprises derive their power from such onsite generation, the wear and tear on the electric grid is diminished and reliability is improved. Costs and technology are still hurdles. To overcome them, the industry needs to increase sales — a hard feat in today’s economic climate. To that end, the federal government could accelerate the technology by leveraging its buying power.

“Somehow and someway the industry has to achieve pricing parity with the incumbent technologies,” says Sam Logan, who is chairman of the Fuel Cell Seminar and Exhibition. “The only way is to increase sales, production and volume, which would allow factories to operate more efficiently.”

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