Fuel Cells: in one year, we'll be off the grid!?!?!

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This was in my electric co-op's newsletter yesterday, it's pretty amazing.


You'd think more people would know about this?

-- Lisa (nomail@work.com), November 02, 1998


Yes, fuel cells are a nice way to generate power - less polluting and more efficient than traditional methods (if you count line losses). We may see a return to small plants on small spots similar to the days in which each home had its own coal burning furnace and no one was connected to anything outside their own home.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), November 02, 1998.

Look at this.


-- @ (x@x.x), November 02, 1998.

The unit will still be dependent on propane, natural gas, or methanol in order to operate. Without these resources the unit will not work. Also, the cost for the unit will be between $3,000 and $5,000. Our home is 2000 sq ft and our utility bill last month was $37.00. On average for the year, our bill is $65.00 a month. It would take us approximately 5 years to pay the unit off, plus the expense of installation and propane (very expensive here). The article did say that you could remain hooked up to the local utility and use the unit as a backup. Also, you can sell electricity back to the utility. So even if the grid did go down and you have this unit, you would still have to have some type of gas to operate it.

-- Bardou (Bardou@baloney.com), November 02, 1998.

Several hotels in S. California are operating on fuel cells....at my house we've been eager for more news on the technology. I am very interested in use of thermocouple with solar-thermal....Home Power Magazine is a good source of information on the up and coming stuff....they have website I think. Web search will find it.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), November 02, 1998.

Some of us have higher electric bills ($150 up) and others just prefer to have our own power. In many parts of the country, BTW it is possible to drill a small well and strike pockets of natural gas - thereby providing free fuel for years. Farmers can use anerobic digestion and produce methane for fuel - many already do. And fuel should be cheaper than equivalent amounts of line electricity - fuel cells are usually very efficient at what they do.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), November 02, 1998.

Bardou, the article I have says that the residential ones will run by chemically combining hydrogen and oxygen. The commercial ones are supposed to run on natural gas, propane and methanol.

Sure wish this could have been available a year ago...

Our electric bill runs 100-150 in summer because it's so dang hot in Texas.

-- lisa (nomail@work.com), November 03, 1998.

Good reference, thank you.

I agree: "To be introduced in 2000..." per their site makes it a bit longer range than immediately useful in Jan 2000, unless they have a provision for test sites, or beta test installations.

For example, they still need a reliability and test engineer - so I am assuming they are in advanced prototyping, rather than commercial production right now.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), November 03, 1998.

Lisa: The article I read under PlugPower, "Questions," it states that the unit will run on propane, natural gas or methanol for residential units. For people like us who live in the country, we would have to rely on propane and of course a truck to deliver it. For those who have large utility bills and can afford the unit, it may be the way to go, but your still going to have to pay someone for the fuel to run it. Too bad it doesn't run on air! Our utility company is pushing low wattage washers and dryers, but the darn things cost $1,000 each! I dry mine for free, it's called a clothes line.

-- Bardou (Bardou@baloney.com), November 04, 1998.

I would probably think about this if I was building a new house. An extra 5 or 6 thousand is nothing on a new house nowadays. I wonder if the company has gotten any builders to consider offering this as an option.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), November 04, 1998.

Take this thread to the top of "Recent Answers" for perusal in conjunction with the "Just in Time?" thread.

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), December 29, 1998.

California types - Anyone looked into the new state program that assists folks with installing renewable energy facilities? That would certainly help the cost/benefit.

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.com), December 29, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ