NFCRC Participates in Residential Fuel Cell Tests

By Kathy Haq

Gian Mario Maggio
NFCRC Director Scott Samuelsen

Irvine, Calif., April 17, 2009  -- UC Irvine’s National Fuel Cell Research Center, a Calit2 partner center,  will join forces with New York-based Plug Power to test the viability of the latest generation of fuel cell technology for providing electricity and heat to homes.  The $3.4 million partnership, which includes Southern California Gas Company, is a beneficiary of the $42 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for fuel cell technology announced by Energy Secretary Steven Chu. 

The three-year project is intended to verify the durability and commercial readiness of Plug Power’s combined heat and power GenSys product. Designed for residential and small business applications, GenSys replaces traditional furnaces and boilers, creating electricity and high-quality heating for consumers. The trial fuel cells will be installed in highly visible locations in Southern California.

“The world looks to California as the testing ground for next-generation power technologies. The eventual shift to fuel cell technology is not an incremental change to society, but rather a dramatic and fundamental shift in the way electrical power will be provided to individual homes,” said Scott Samuelsen, NFCRC director. “UCI has played an integral role in leading this transformation, and we are excited to partner with Plug Power in this important next step.” 

Katrina Fritz Intwala, vice president of government and public relations at Plug Power said the Department of Energy’s vision and leadership has facilitated industry expansion.

“This will allow companies like Plug Power and its customers to deploy exciting alternative energy products and accelerate the growth of green jobs,” she said. “We appreciate the DOE’s investment and commitment to fuel cell technology.”