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Old 10-12-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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Default Residential fuel cells in the USA?

Are they available?

From which manufacturers? (I've only found Panasonic for Japan market only)

Anyone have one?
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:05 PM
 
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Heliocentris Energy Solutions AG & Heliocentris Energiesysteme GmbH : Fuel Cell Modules

http://www.heliocentris.com/index.php?eID=tx_nawsecuredl&u=0&file=typo3temp/pics/e88878b69d.jpg&t=1318550503&hash=bc47b9b1091a2d4df b2d2e726fb228ac944c13d5 (broken link)

Looks like they are really not in production and the cost seems to be in the range of $15,000 to $50,000 dollars (before rebates) and who knows how much money one would generate by selling power back to the local power provider...

This is the technology the government should be subsidizing...

$500,000,000.00 would pay for quite a few complete installations but I guess the electric power lobby in Washington DC would have a fit...
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:39 PM
 
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About ten years ago there was a documentary shown on PBS about residential fuel cells. It was an impressive video that showed how the average homeowner could supply all the heat and electrical requirements of his home via this one device. The doc when on to say that if the homeowner also purchased an electric vehicle his fuel costs were covered. Any excess power could be sold back to the electric companies. The big draw back was cost and in that show, (ten years ago), the estimated the cost of a residential fuel cell to be about $80-$100k. Cost sounded preventative but if these units went into mass production the cost would come down. Still it seemed a bit out of reach.

More recently plasma TV's hit the market at a cost of $20-$30k and soon the LCD TV was spawned off the technology. Today you can buy a LCD big screen for less than $500. This would have also happened to fuel cells.

However, as with everything in the US we protect the interest of big businesses over innovation and progress. Instead of residential fuel cells we have massive coal burning electrical generating plants that pollute the air and water. While big business is allowed and subsidized to reduce costs, (jobs), the homeowner is forced to participate in a program than stuffs the pockets of the wealthy and destroys the environment. You will never see an affordable residential fuel cell until the last lump of coal and the last drop of oil is burned.
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donsabi View Post
However, as with everything in the US we protect the interest of big businesses over innovation and progress. Instead of residential fuel cells we have massive coal burning electrical generating plants that pollute the air and water. While big business is allowed and subsidized to reduce costs, (jobs), the homeowner is forced to participate in a program than stuffs the pockets of the wealthy and destroys the environment. You will never see an affordable residential fuel cell until the last lump of coal and the last drop of oil is burned.
Oh yea gods, an OWS type....
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:41 PM
 
29,990 posts, read 19,392,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donsabi View Post
About ten years ago there was a documentary shown on PBS about residential fuel cells. It was an impressive video that showed how the average homeowner could supply all the heat and electrical requirements of his home via this one device. The doc when on to say that if the homeowner also purchased an electric vehicle his fuel costs were covered. Any excess power could be sold back to the electric companies. The big draw back was cost and in that show, (ten years ago), the estimated the cost of a residential fuel cell to be about $80-$100k. Cost sounded preventative but if these units went into mass production the cost would come down. Still it seemed a bit out of reach.

More recently plasma TV's hit the market at a cost of $20-$30k and soon the LCD TV was spawned off the technology. Today you can buy a LCD big screen for less than $500. This would have also happened to fuel cells.

However, as with everything in the US we protect the interest of big businesses over innovation and progress. Instead of residential fuel cells we have massive coal burning electrical generating plants that pollute the air and water. While big business is allowed and subsidized to reduce costs, (jobs), the homeowner is forced to participate in a program than stuffs the pockets of the wealthy and destroys the environment. You will never see an affordable residential fuel cell until the last lump of coal and the last drop of oil is burned.
Had I been seeking political commentary I would have posted in the political forum. I was seeking real information, the kind you don't have.

Thanks plwhit, I need to pull the trigger on something before the end of the year. My plan has been for solar for many years; but, I wanted to see if there was a better way for about the same $$ investment. Odd that the tax rebates exist for residential fuel cell if the product is not out there.
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:32 PM
 
Location: Lake Forest, CA
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At my work location, there are two very large fuel cell systems that create electric power from natural gas that are manufactured by United Technologies. These are industrial scale, multi-million dollar fuel cells, not residential models. The fuel cells don't burn the natural gas, they extract the hydrogen molecules from the gas and create electricity from the hydrogen. They are complex beasts. These fuel cells have been in operation for just about a year. There are technicians that visit these fuel cells to perform maintenance activity once or twice a week, for many hours at a time. I see these guys so often that I even know some of their names. I park my bike in a bike locker at work which is located adjacent to the fuel cells, so I can't help but notice when they are around to work on the fuel cells.

I would be afraid of the reliability of fuel cells (or, lack of reliability). I can't imagine why an almost new fuel cell system would need maintenance visits so often. It's not just the up front cost of the fuel cell, it would be the ongoing maintenance cost that would really worry me.
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:51 AM
 
Location: DC
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Fuel cells are not yet technologically ready for residential or commercial use. There are some fundamental issues with the membranes that have not been resolved.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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I guess someone should tell these companies that the products they are selling have "fundamental issues that have not been resolved"

http://www.protonex.com/

http://www.fuelcellenergy.com/products.php

http://www.horizonfuelcell.com/products.htm

http://www.numeridian.com/2010/02/12/fuel-cell-technology-is-consumer-ready-residential-and-commercial-fuel-cells
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,310 posts, read 20,527,940 times
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While these are all very impressive sales pitches and fuel cell technology certainly appears poised to become widely available, this is a very early stage of the game. How would you have known to invest in Microsoft with its Windows OS rather than IBM with its Top View OS in the early 80's? VHS actually sucked compared to Beta. LaserDisk was pretty awesome for a couple of hours. A lot of people just HAD to have that $15,000 42" 480p plasma screen with a 2,000 hour life in 1997, too - how much is a vastly superior TV today?

I'm certainly not bashing the technology and I'm sure that MOgirl is going to figure out the right course and make a smart decision, but I wouldn't encourage beta testing even if California does.
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:35 PM
 
Location: DC
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"A fool and his money are soon parted" Thomas Tusser 1573
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