GM unveils its first planned commercial fuel cell product. The HyUPS system , a backup power generator, is about the size of a refrigerator and can generate up to 24 kiloWatts for up to two hours. This generator can be used to keep wireless phone towers operating through power outages. Hydrogenics Corp., a partner of GM, along with Nextel Communications, Inc. will field-test the unit in California in the early months of 2002. Other companies involved in the development of this technology are Quantum Technologies Worldwide, Inc. and Giner Electrochemical Systems.(12-01 BD69-11)
After years of touting the availability of stationary fuel cells, the implementations have not met expectations. Plug Power put at 5 kW prototype system in a New York home but pulled it out two years later. The systems are too inefficient and expensive, as perceived by 36% of Popular Science Web site visitors who indicated reliability concerns. Present pricing of $6,000 per kW must come to below $1,000/kW to become interesting to homeowners. Despite the lack of progress, projections are that by 2031, 99% of homes will have fuel cell power. The biggest catalyst for residential stationary power is an environmental crisis or a political problem which leads to the shortage of oil. Platinum, for both the reformer and stack, is not produced in the U.S. but must be acquired from politically unstable regions.
March 2002, pp.60-63