Fuel cells are often applied as a microgrid, operating grid-connected or grid independent (islanding). Fuel cells today almost always operate from a natural gas utility service. However, the future could bring green hydrogen to fuel cells though the same existing, massive pipeline and pumping infrastructure that now delivers natural gas.
Fuel cells don’t burn the fuel; they combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electric power and are cleaner than gas turbines and engines. Fuel cells can be applied for energy savings but can be more specifically applied for improved power reliability, enhancing or even eliminating the need for standby engine generators, UPS systems and batteries. Fuel cells are normally best suited to steady-state base loads; however block load capability can be enhanced with super capacitors, batteries and flywheels.
Government, tax and utility incentives often make fuel cells financially viable, improving ROI.
Touchstone Engineering has direct experience with Bloom Energy fuel cells.