Fuel Cells Mobile and stationary power plants

Fuel cell powered buses are presently operating with 50 to 100 plus kW power plants and more buses have been ordered. The Military is doing R and D on fuel cell systems to lead to the new silent efficient electric army. Emphasis is on power for the individual soldier and on fuel cell systems which can operate on logistic fuels — diesel fuel and jet fuel-

Fuel cell electric vehicles, FCEV, are being encouraged by developments in DOT and DOE together with joint industry programs (PNGV) and private developments. The movements toward FCEV will require competitive automotive costs - a few 10's of dollars per kW. Additionally, power conditioning, sensors and controls will increase in reliability and compactness at lower cost

Present and future stationary power generation is undergoing great changes as the effects of deregulation and subsequent decentralization take place. Traditional utilities because of local regulations find it cheaper to buy power rather than generating power themselves. Today they are buying power through the interconnected power grid from other utilities, from independent power producers and wind / solar electricity producers. The US electric power grid is presently two large east and west electric grids with a few central interconnects. Central generation stations as "an island" in a region have been absorbed into the .grids, long gone into the giant grids.

Significant amounts of the new power generation is by independent power producers supplying local users with various ratios of electricity and heat

200 kW fuel cell power plants are being commercialized by ONSI Systems (part of International Fuel Cells). These fuel cell systems are now providing power to hotels, hospitals, office buildings and industries. Associations of utilities are looking to test smaller fuel cell systems as part of powering small subdivisions (25 - 50 kW) or in the basements of private houses ( 2 - 5 kW). Dispersed power is being produced nearer the customer.

The fuel processor for the 200 kW fuel cell system is now being used by the hydrogen merchant gas industry to supply small scale hydrogen to users.

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