1 Megawatt Fuel Cell Power Plant

As we all know, somehow we have to deal with high oil prices. One of the best ways and possibly easier ways is to switch to fuels such as hydrogen fuel. Sometime this year one German car manufacturer has promised to have a hydrogen fuel auto in its showrooms for sale to customers.  Wonder if this has been called off due to the big downturn in the worldwide economy?

Hydrogen fuel cell cars are the answer to decreased nitrogen oxide emissions, and the best thing about them is that they use a renewable energy source that will always be readily available.  This fuel will become viable when produced by a source of electrical energy not derived from carbon fuel consumption.

We already use  fuel cell batteries for commercial video cameras.  With the fuel cell tech there is zero-emissions fuel, releasing only water into the atmosphere as a waste product.  One of the biggest disadvantages of hydrogen fuel cell cars is the way that hydrogen is produced.

Creating affordable hydrogen fuel cells: Fuel cells are now ten times more expensive than internal combustion engines.  To create free hydrogen fuel at the flick of a switch, just add water to the station’s tank.  Because they are not popular, it would take a lot of serious engineering to get the cost down from its present levels to where it can be a viable solution for the replacement of the fossil fuels that are now being used worldwide. As soon as this comes about, well quite possibly it will be bye-bye to the fossil fuels.

Hydrogen fuel cells produce a clean byproduct, pure water.  These fuel cells power the shuttles electrical systems, producing pure water, which is used by the crew as drinking water.  The fuel cells are very efficient and produce only water as a by-product, but they present problem, they are very expensive to build.

Most of the fuel cell cars require electric motors in order to work.  The fueling stations are an essential component to the success of future hydrogen cars running upon the highways.  The fuel cells create electricity to power cars without any pollution.  These fuel cell cars are the answer to decreased nitrogen oxide emissions, and the best thing about them is that they use a renewable energy source that will always be readily available.

Hydrogen fuel was considered extensively during the hydrogen economy debades of the 1970s and 1980s.  Hydrogen fuel has much potential, but it takes more energy to create it as compared to the extraction, refinement, and distribution of petroleum products.

One car uses hydrogen fuel cells and the other car uses an internal combustion engine (ICE) to burn hydrogen.  There are many issues that need to be worked out with hydrogen fueling stations as they relate to hydrogen car technology.  Issues of storage, containment, delivery and safety all need to be addressed before hydrogen fuel stations become commonplace in the consumer market.

Besides commercial fueling stations, the future may hold that home hydrogen fueling stations will become commonplace.  Under the President’s hydrogen fuel initiative, the first car driven by a child born today quite possibly could be powered by fuel cells.  Through the hydrogen fuel initiative, the federal government, automakers and energy companies will work together to overcome the technological and financial barriers to the successful development of commercially viable, emissions-free fuel cell vehicles that require no foreign oil.

The hydrogen fuel initiative seeks to lower that cost enough to make fuel cell cars cost-competitive with conventional gasoline-powered vehicles by 2010; and to advance the methods of producing hydrogen from renewable resources, nuclear energy, and even coal.

In 2002, President Bush launched Freedom CAR, a partnership with automakers to advance high-technology research needed to produce practical, affordable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that American consumers will want to buy and drive.  To create free hydrogen fuel at the flick of a switch, just add water to the station’s tank.

Quite possibly within the next decade the hydrogen fueled autos will become common place vehicles here in the USA and all over the world. It really depends on whether or not the engineering and innovation continues. As we can all attest, the moment the fuel prices came down a few years back. Here came the gas guzzlers back on the market and they sold like hotcakes for a time.

Then we come to the present worldwide situation and here we are again basically the same as four or five years ago. At the present time will we see the innovation pace slow as before? The jury is still out, so we will have to wait and see on this one.

Jimmy Woodall has 49 years business experience. He does internet, niche and Affiliate mktg. Visit his Hydrogen Fuel website at: [] there are articles, videos and news feeds on the subject.

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This is a video of a 1 megawatt Fuel Cell Power Plant at California State University, Northridge, in Los Angeles, CA. The power plant has a reformer that separates hydrogen from natural gas and then feeds the hydrogen into a fuel cell, generating electricity. The plant also recovers the heat generated and uses it for domestic heating on campus. In the future, some of the carbon emitted will be sequestered in a sub-tropical rainforest that is under construction.

While at present this power plant still uses fossil fuels (the natural gas is needed in order to extract the hydrogen from it), in the future the hydrogen will be generated either from landfill gas, or else it will be electrolyzed using wind, solar, geothermal, wave or hydroelectric energy. What is most important and exciting about this plant is the fact that it is using fuel cells–touted to be the future of electricity generation–today, and they are working seamlessly on a large scale.

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Category: Hydrogen
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