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Fuel cell status, 1994

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1 Author(s)
Hirschenhofer, J.H. ; Gilbert/Commonwealth Inc., Reading, PA, USA

The high efficiency environmental benefits and other attributes of fuel cells have attracted world-wide attention to the technology. Approximately 250 phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC) power units, 35 molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) stacks, and 12 solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) modules have been or are being operated. Total capacity installed or operating is close to 45 MW. Fuel cell development has progressed to where complete power plants have reached nearly 16,000 operating hours and this continues to increase. Developers in the U.S. and Japan have embarked on extensive government and private programs to commercialize the technology in those countries and abroad. By mid-1994, the U.S. sold and shipped to other countries at least 33 PAFC 200 kW plants, 20 675 kW PAFC stacks, two SOFC 25 kW modules, and one MCFC system. Additional units have been produced for the domestic market. There is intense interest in Japan where there are very stringent environmental regulations and fuel prices are high. The fuel cell can respond with its combined attributes of low emissions and relative high efficiency. In Europe, the environmental cleanliness of fuel cell power units holds the promise of preserving the quality of life, motivating support and development of the technology. Canada and Australia have spawned important development programs. Interest continues to increase in other parts of the world. The author reviews the 1994 status and outlines the future development trends in this area.<>

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 11 )