Solid oxide fuel cells adjacent to Wal-mart parking lot. Image credit:Bloom Energy
Natural gas-reforming solid oxide fuel cells will soon be assembled in a former Chrysler plant, located in Newark DE. The 100-kilowatt individual fuel cell units by Bloom Energy will likely be combined to provide combined heat and electricity for Wal-mart, Coca-Cola, and FedEx facilities (as pictured). Power doesn't get any more American than that and you can't beat the combined efficiency and cleanliness of the solid oxide fuel cell. Natural gas, the energy source, is an extremely effective hydrogen carrier (4 hydrogens per carbon molecule); and, every bit as important, air emissions approach zero. That's right...zero.This stationary fuel cell has an unexpected siting advantage over all other distirbuted power technologies. With zero emissions per MW you can quickly put them up in air quality-limited portions of the country - essentially all the highly urbanized areas of North America - with nary a permit hearing and no contribution to emphysema and asthma risk and no noise or flickering light or bat death issues.
Tea Partiers and Republicans...listen up.
They don't need no stinking EPA air permit.
Yes, these fuel cells will be reforming natural gas originating, in part, from fracking wells. What would you prefer instead, coal- fired mercury and arsenic emissions? Gas turbines that also emit plenty of pollutants? Nuclear power? Get over the perfectionism addiction and admit progress when progress bites you in the backside.
Are there any old Beats left? Might some ghostly hip-ness arrive to exorcise the once-Chrysler plant of its Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen demon? The demon left hiding in storm drains and passing engines breathing record heat heat into the summer? Alas, the best Delaware might offer would be ex-witchcraft dabbler, Christine O'Donnell. Even that might be enough to bail out the future.
For full coverage, see article in Philly.com.