Electricity from Fuel Cells
- Monday, January 24, 2011
- By Kevin Bullis
For a growing number of businesses, government subsidies and decreasing costs are making the technology cost-effective.
The new World Trade Center towers in New York City will be powered in part by fuel cells. Whole Foods runs some of its supermarkets on fuel cells. Walmart, eBay, Google, Staples, Coca-Cola, and many other major corporations have installed them in the last few years. Many of these companies say that they're not just using fuel cells to reduce energy consumption and pollution, provide reliable backup power, and attract good publicity. They also aim to save money.
If they're successful, and many of the initial results suggest that they could be, it will be because the cost of fuel cells has dropped significantly over the last few years. They last longer than they used to, and at the same time, local and national governments have provided generous subsidies. "There are an increasing number of cases where the pure economics of adoption make sense," says Kerry-Ann Adamson, a research director at Pike Research. But fuel cells remain an expensive way to generate electricity, and they don't yet make economic sense for all businesses.
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