Solar America

Fuel Cells: the Clean Wave of the Future!


What are Fuel Cells?

Fuel cells are another incredibly exciting technology that many people do not know about.  In short, a fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts chemical energy into electricity. More technically, fuel cells use hydrogen from natural gas as fuel and through a set of reactions, converts the hydrogen fuel to electricity and emit water as a by product.  Think of a fuel cell as a clean burning traditional combustion engine which produces water as waste as opposed to pollution like in a car engine.

What is exciting is that fuel cells have significant advantages over traditional energy sources like a car engine. Most of us know that a car engine gets very hot when used -- this is because the majority of the fuel you pump into it is used by the engine to heat itself up.  Fuel cells produce only a small amount of heat, so all your fuel will be used to produce energy.  And as stated above, the waste by product of fuel cells is water as opposed to noxious pollution produced by car engines or coal plants.  It’s truly a clean source of power.


What Are the Potential Applications of Fuel Cells?

Fuel cells have several different potential applications that every green consumer needs to know about.  First, fuel cells can be used to replace traditional combustion engines in automobiles.  While not widely available, there are several concept cars that have gone into production based on this technology.  But down the road, fuel cells will also be able to be used in trains, boats and aircrafts.

Fuels cells could also be built to produce electricity in the same way as any other types of power station do.  Fuel cells are relatively easy and cheap to build compared and would provide an attractive alternative to powering places that the grid does not reach.  For example, fuel cells would be ideal to power remote locations – such as farms, lighthouses and underground complexes.  Fuel cells could also be used to supply industrial states or university campuses without the need to be connected to the grid enabling them to regulate and control their own power supply.  Fuel cells can also be used as portable power sources essentially replacing batteries but much longer lasting.  In fact, fuel cells are very scalable and have easy recharging capabilities compared to batteries.


Where to get Fuel Cells to Power Your Home

There are a number of companies working on fuel cell technology and that create fuel cell components.  But one company that is producing a consumer friendly fuel cell device is Clean Edge Power ( which has developed a fuel cell power generator that is smaller than a refrigerator that sits outside your home.  It can produce enough energy to power most of your home and can save you up to 50% on your electric bill and cut your CO2 emissions by 1/3.   Their fuel cell power generators can also be built specifically for businesses helping a building owners save up to 30% on their utilities.

More and more people are becoming aware of the exciting promise of fuel cell technology.  While fuel cells are not as accessible as energy efficient appliances, they will be in the future and it’s important as green consumers to be aware of and support this exciting technology.