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Hydrogen is discussed as a fuel for next-gen automobiles, but it’s primary use as a fuel is in the U.S. Space Program. Liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen are combined as propulsion fuel for the space shuttle. On board, fuel cells using hydrogen and oxygen provide most of the shuttle’s electric power. Fuel cells were developed under NASA contract.

Hydrogen also has use in terrestial generation. The major fuel cell manufacturers are headquartered in Connecticut, but neighboring NYS has the most generous programs to support their implementation.

NYSERDA has a US$11.M program in place, non-competitive, first-come, first-served. Large projects generating in excess of 25 kW are provided cash rebates of $1000./kW for capital improvements which include new gen-sets, and qualify for an additional $0.15/kW-h of “performance-based” incentives. The capital incentive is capped at $200,000. per site.

Small projects generating less than 25 kW are provided cash rebates of $2000./kW for capital improvements, capped at $20,000. per site.

Essential public service sites qualify for an additional $500./ kW. These include hospitals and police stations.

The clean “burn” provided by fuel cell units make them ideal for stand-by power for sites under strict environmental oversight, including all of NYC.

The technology is proven but not widely implemented, such that the enterprise marketing value of a broadcasted installation should not be discounted.

Photo of shuttle courtesy NREL, photo of 400 kW unit courtesy United Technologies

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