Accelerating the Discussion on Clean Energy

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Tomorrow, the Sustainability Consortium of the Society for Organizational Learning's first audioconference in its "Leadership and Learning for Sustainability" series begins at 1 pm EST. The event will feature a 90-minute conversation between author Peter Senge and Roger Saillant, the CEO of Plug Power, on the theme "Slowing our dependence on fossils fuels and accelerating our use of renewables: changing our thinking and improving our practices " Dr. Saillant's contributions to this discussion should be particularly enlightening, as he heads a company that's one of the leading designers, developers and manufacturers of fuel cell energy production systems for residential and commercial use.Plug Power specializes in proton exchange membrane fuel cells, and has used this technology to create both backup and stand-along power generation systems. Current products include systems designed specifically for telecommunications, broadband and industrial backup power, a combined heating and power system for home and light industrial use, and a hydrogen generation system. Plans still on the drawing board include the Home Energy Station, in development with Honda R&D;, which is "a fully integrated fuel cell system that produces electricity and heat for a home or business and enough hydrogen fuel to fill one fuel cell vehicle per day." The company currently has 191 systems in operation at 95 customer locations in 17 countries around the world. All of the company's work is guided by an environmental philosophy that's quite ambitious: "As an operating philosophy, we endeavor to design products whose manufacturing processes and usage profiles create zero waste."

While fuel cells are a bit of a mystery to most of us, Dr. Saillant's role in tomorrow's discussion ought to shed some light on the role this technology can play in creating a greener future. Power Plug preaches a triple-bottom line approach to business, and it will be interesting to hear not only how he sees fuel cells contributing to cleaner energy production, but also how sustainable business practices in general can thrive within energy production industries. If you're interested in joining the discussion, there's still time to register. If you're interested in learning more about fuel cells, HowStuffWorks.com has a great slide show that explains this promising technology in language any layperson (including this one) can understand. :: Plug Power

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