The Energy Department has announced that more than one thousand fuel cells have been deployed via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Over the last three years, nearly 1,200 fuel cells have been deployed in emergency backup power units and material handling equipment.
What does this mean for facilities and buildings? Companies are installing fuel cells to generate onsite primary or backup power to buildings, data centers and cell phone towers, because of their high reliability and low emissions. To date, close to 700 fuel cells have been deployed to provide backup power with $18.5 million in Recovery Act funding. Fuel cells are quiet and don't need petroleum, so they produce few pollutants and emissions. Fuel cells also typically require minimal maintenance and can easily be monitored remotely to further reduce maintenance time.
Many businesses are also choosing fuel cells to power their materials handling equipment because of the productivity, cost and performance advantages of fuel cell lift trucks. Funded with $9.7 million under the Recovery Act, more than 500 fuel cell powered lift trucks are now operational at end-user sites, along with fueling systems, data collection and analysis, and operator training to support them.
Hydrogen fuel cells do not emit any harmful air pollutants and can be rapidly refueled, boosting productivity. Fuel cells also maintain full power capability between refueling. Data collected from all of these projects is aggregated to provide relevant technology status results and fuel cell performance data without revealing proprietary information. These publicly available data products provide critical information to future investors and customers.