Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mott jumps into fuel cells



Mott Corporation in Farmington, CT is a familiar name to any manufacturer who utilizes porous metal products -- typically for high purity or high temperature filtration applications. They recently recieved an SBIR grant to develop fuel cell membranes. Fuel cell "stack" plates require high surface area within a small volume, which is a great application for sintered metal plates like the ones Mott produces. In simple terms, they take metal powder or grain and heat it up so they are just hot enough to bond together, but not quite hot enough to melt into a pool. Look for them in a fuel cell near you.

Tick...tick...tick..

Still waiting on some meaningful energy policy to materialize. The Boston Globe reports:

Earlier this year, House Speaker James Amann, D-Milford, said he expected a package of reforms aimed at addressing Connecticut's energy woes within the first 30 days of this year's legislative session. But the two leaders of the energy committee are still trying to craft a compromise bill to present to the full legislature.

This session ends June 6.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Live wire!! State Rep joins energy forum tonight

Don't miss this "live-blog" discussion with State Rep Kim Fawcett -- tonight at 8PM on MyLeftNutmeg.

Green Energy Conference in Clinton



This sounds like an exciting conference in Clinton organized by the Shoreline League of Democratic Women. The focus is on environment, energy use and conservation.
Speakers include Mark Simon of Centerbrook Architects and Planners; Bob Chew of SolarWrights; Alice Liddell and Derek Murrow, policy analysts from Environment Northeast; Keri Enright from SmartPower; and Rep. Vicki Nardello of the legislature's Energy and Technology Committee.
I suppose un-democratic men would probably not be turned away. Show up to the Clinton Town Hall on April 19th to find out.
For more info information on the Shoreline League of Democratic Women, send an e-mail to sldworg@gmail.com or contact Belinda Jones at 860-399-1147 or Laurie Santos at 860-669-8395

New biofuel facility in Cheshire announced

Councilman Tim White is excited about a new biofuel facility to be built in Cheshire. And who wouldn't be? The bio-fuel industry grew about 300% last year and shows no signs of stopping. The New Haven Register article implies that they will be simply mixing vegetable oil with diesel fuel, but I doubt that is the case. Normally the oil is processed into biodiesel (by extracting gycerine) so that it becomes a more homogenous mixture.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

DIY Green energy systems



Ever look at a big wind turbine and think to yourself "What's the big deal? Any idiot could build one of those"? Well now is your chance to prove it. YourGreenDream.com has ideas and step-by-step procedures for building your own wind turbine, PV solar system, energy efficient LED systems and other cool stuff.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Al Gore's Tree Farm



Just for kicks, I did a little back-of-the-envelope calculation to see how many trees Al Gore would have to plant to offset his electric bill. Here are the results:

Each and every year, Al will have to plant 7656 trees over a plot of about 13 acres. These trees will swallow his massive 114 tons of carbon dioxide over the course of 100 years. But that's not all. This only covers his electricity consumption for one single home. It will not cover his home heating useage, extensive travel, manufacturing of his books & movies etc. His real footprint is much, much larger. He'd better get out the overalls and start digging!

Assumptions:
66-91 trees per metric tonne CO2 (Edinburgh Center for Carbon Management)
191,000 kilowatt hours used in 2006 (algore.com)
1.341 pound CO2 per KWh (EIA -- 1999, but close enough)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

CT Energy Bills 2007

I figured I'd do a quick search to see what's on the legislative agenda for this year. Not too shabby. A lot of these are probably already dead, but I'll have to sort through to see what's still in the running.

***(Update 3/18/07) I noticed that a lot of the links below are screwy, though they weren't when I first posted this. Anyhow, you should get in the habit of doing your own energy legislation searches directly from the CT General Assembly website. They even have a bill-tracking feature so you can stay on top of the game by simply entering your favorite bills.

HB-5928.HTM AN ACT ENCOURAGING ENERGY CONSERVATION AND REDUCING ENERGY COSTS.
HB-7309.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING PAY AS YOU SAVE AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY RECOMMENDATIONS.
HB-7310.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING OFF-PEAK ENERGY STORAGE.
HB-7098.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING CONNECTICUT'S ENERGY FUTURE.
SB-1377.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENERGY AND TECHNOLOGY.
SB-1375.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION AND THE STUDY AND DEVELOPMENT OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY INVESTMENTS.
SB-1374.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRICITY PROCUREMENT AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY.
HB-5934.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ALTERNATIVE ENERGY, AND CONSERVATION, INCLUDING DEVELOPMENT OF SOLAR AND WIND POWER.
HB-7253.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ALTERNATIVE ENERGY INVESTMENT.
HB-7097.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING CONNECTICUT'S ENERGY POLICY.
HB-6209.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE RENEWABLE INVESTMENT FUND.
HB-6602.HTM AN ACT EXPANDING TRASH-TO-ENERGY FACILITIES.
HB-5930.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING LONG-TERM CAPACITY AND ENERGY CONTRACTS.
SB-0865.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING AN ENERGY INDEPENDENCE ECONOMIC PLAN.
SB-0864.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT PREFERENCES FOR ENERGY.
HB-6203.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENERGY EFFICIENT VEHICLES.
HB-5935.HTM AN ACT ALLOWING LONG-TERM ENERGY AND CAPACITY CONTRACTS.
HB-5017.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING AN EXEMPTION FROM THE SALES TAX FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY ENERGY TECHNOLOGY AND EQUIPMENT.
SB-0770.HTM AN ACT RESTORING FUNDS TO THE RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENT FUND.
SB-0521.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING A MUNICIPAL OPTION TO ABATE PROPERTY TAXES ON PROPERTY USED IN SOLAR ENERGY CONVERSION.
SB-0520.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENERGY EFFICIENT VEHICLES.
SB-0519.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING A SALES TAX EXEMPTION FOR PROCESSES CONVERTING SOLAR ENERGY.
SB-0359.HTM AN ACT ESTABLISHING A DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY.
HB-6613.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING STATE ENERGY PLANNING.
HB-6612.HTM AN ACT CREATING A HOME ENERGY EFFICIENT SAVINGS MONTH.
HB-6607.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING LONG-TERM ENERGY AND CAPACITY CONTRACTS.
HB-6606.HTM AN ACT ENCOURAGING ENERGY EFFICIENT STREET AND SECURITY LIGHTING.
HB-6205.HTM AN ACT CREATING A SOLAR REQUIREMENT WITHIN THE RENEWABLE ENERGY PORTFOLIO STANDARDS.
HB-5936.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENERGY EFFICIENT SCHOOLS AND STATE-FUNDED BUILDINGS.
HB-6407.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENERGY EFFICIENCY MEASURES IN THE STATE BUILDING CODE.
HB-5361.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING USE OF THE SURPLUS FOR AN ENERGY TAX CREDIT.
SB-0518.HTM AN ACT EXEMPTING THE PURCHASE OF ANY EQUIPMENT OR SERVICES IN RELATION TO A PROJECT FUNDED BY THE CONNECTICUT CLEAN ENERGY FUND
HB-6785.HTM AN ACT EXPANDING THE CLEAN ENERGY FUND'S SOLAR REBATE PROGRAM.
HB-5589.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING GRANTS TO NONPROFITS FOR PHOTOVOLTAIC ENERGY SYSTEMS.
HB-5295.HTM AN ACT INCREASING CLEAN AND RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION.
HB-5018.HTM AN ACT CREATING A DISTRIBUTIVE ENERGY GENERATION PROGRAM.
HB-6787.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRIC CONSUMPTION REDUCTION NOTICES.
HB-5016.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE INCLUSION OF THE COST OF RELOCATION IN ELECTRIC UTILITY RATES.
HB-5927.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING CELLULAR TOWERS IN RESIDENTIAL ZONES.
SB-1422.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE INSTITUTE FOR ENERGY RESOURCES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT.
HB-7332.HTM AN ACT EXTENDING SOLAR ENERGY TAX CREDITS.
HB-7232.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE LOW INCOME HEATING ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.
HB-7307.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING SUSTAINABLE BIOMASS.
HB-7081.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING CONNECTICUT'S ENERGY VISION.
HB-7080.HTM AN ACT CREATING A STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY.
SB-1332.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ON-SITE FUEL STORAGE.
SB-1331.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANIES.
HB-7223.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING BUSINESS AND ENERGY INDEPENDENCE DISTRICTS.
SB-0771.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENERGY PROCUREMENT AND EFFICIENCY.
SB-0135.HTM AN ACT EXEMPTING FUELS SOLD TO NONPROFIT HOSPITALS FROM THE GROSS EARNINGS TAX.
HB-6748.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENERGY EFFICIENT SCHOOL AND MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS.
HB-6208.HTM AN ACT MODIFYING THE STATE'S ENERGY PROCUREMENT PROCESS.
HB-5921.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENERGY EFFICIENT VEHICLES.
HB-5236.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING AN ENERGY USE TAX.
SB-0105.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENERGY RELIEF FOR CONNECTICUT RATEPAYERS.
HB-6187.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING STATE ASSISTANCE TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOR ENERGY COSTS.
HB-5133.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING AN EXTENSION OF THE PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR SOLAR ENERGY ELECTRICITY GENERATING SYSTEMS.
HB-5014.HTM AN ACT CLASSIFYING BIODIESEL FUEL AS A CLASS I RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE.
HB-7311.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING GEOTHERMAL HEAT SYSTEMS.
HB-7308.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING RESOURCE RECOVERY OUTPUT PURCHASE REQUIREMENTS AND INDIRECT COSTS AND REMEDIES FOR PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANIES.
SB-1330.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.
SB-1329.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING BIODIESEL.
SB-1328.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITY CONTROL.
SB-1373.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRIC RATE RELIEF.
SB-1207.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING SMALL-SCALE HYDROPOWER.
SB-1206.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING NATURAL GAS CUSTOMER CHOICE.
HB-7252.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE CONNECTICUT SITING COUNCIL.
HB-7183.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING WATER RESOURCE PLANNING.
HB-7251.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING UTILITY AUDITS.
HB-6218.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE COST OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS.
SB-1376.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING PAYMENT OF THE COSTS OF THE RELOCATION OF CERTAIN UTILITY FACILITIES.
SB-1327.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING UTILITY BILL PAYMENT OPTIONS.
HB-7254.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ALTERNATIVE MOTOR VEHICLE FUELS.
SB-1263.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE CONSOLIDATION OF ENERGY CONSERVATION LOAN PROGRAM STATUTES.
SB-1209.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING UTILITY MARKOUT TRAINING.
HB-6781.HTM AN ACT TO INCREASE FUNDING FOR THE CONSERVATION AND LOAD MANAGEMENT FUND.
HB-5933.HTM AN ACT RESTORING FUNDING TO THE CONSERVATION AND LOAD MANAGEMENT FUND.
SB-0980.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING A MUNICIPAL OPTION TO ABATE PROPERTY TAXES ON HYBRID AND ALTERNATIVE FUEL PASSENGER VEHICLES.
SB-0104.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING UTILITY BILL CONTRIBUTIONS.
SB-0018.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ALTERNATIVE FUEL SOURCES.
HB-6728.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AND THE LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT DESIGN CONSTRUCTION PROGRAMS.
HB-6614.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING DISTRIBUTED RESOURCES.
HB-6414.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENERGY EFFICIENCY.
HB-5924.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING SOLAR THERMAL INSTALLATIONS.
HB-5472.HTM AN ACT PROVIDING FUNDS FOR THE STUDY OF HYDROELECTRIC POWER IN WINDHAM.
HB-5470.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE SALES TAX EXEMPTION ON RESIDENTIAL WEATHERIZATION PRODUCTS.
HB-6765.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING WATER METERS IN RENTAL UNITS.
SB-0618.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING DEMOLITION OF BUILDINGS.
SB-0985.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.
HB-7377.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING GREEN BUILDINGS.
SB-0181.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE GASOLINE TAX.
SB-1381.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING APPROPRIATIONS TO THE DEPARTMENTS OF SOCIAL SERVICES AND AGRICULTURE.
HB-6206.HTM AN ACT REDUCING THE UTILITY COMPANIES TAX.
HB-7082.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING AN ELECTRIC CONSERVATION INCENTIVE PROGRAM.
SB-1137.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING PRICE GOUGING.
HB-6207.HTM AN ACT REGULATING SHARED WASTEWATER FACILITIES.
HB-6778.HTM AN ACT PROTECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY ALONG UTILITIES' RIGHTS-OF-WAY.
HB-5468.HTM AN ACT ESTABLISHING AN EXCESS PROFITS REFUND TO ELECTRIC UTILITY RATEPAYERS.
HB-5316.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING SALES TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR FUEL EFFICIENT MOTOR VEHICLES.
HB-5297.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPALITIES AND GOVERNMENT-ACCESS TELEVISION.
SB-1162.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING PASSIVE SOLAR TECHNIQUES IN PLANNING AND ZONING REGULATIONS.
HB-5940.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING AWARDS FOR CUSTOMER-SIDE DISTRIBUTED RESOURCES.
HB-5024.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING PREPAID HOME HEATING OIL CONTRACTS.
HB-5942.HTM AN ACT EXEMPTING PV AND SOLAR THERMAL HARDWARE SERVICES FROM THE SALES TAX.
HB-5941.HTM AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TAX CREDIT FOR THE RESIDENTIAL USE OF BIOHEAT.
HB-5932.HTM AN ACT ESTABLISHING TAX CREDITS FOR BIODIESEL PRODUCTION IN CONNECTICUT.
HB-5593.HTM AN ACT DEFINING BIODIESEL QUALITY STANDARDS AND INCLUDING BIODIESEL IN THE DEFINITION OF ALTERNATIVE FUELS.
HB-5591.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING AN EXEMPTION FROM THE PETROLEUM PRODUCTS GROSS EARNINGS TAX FOR BIODIESEL FUEL.
HB-5590.HTM AN ACT EXEMPTING BIODIESEL FUEL FROM THE MOTOR VEHICLE FUELS TAX.
HB-6810.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING RATEPAYER RELIEF AND LOCATIONAL LOAD REDUCTION SUPPORT.
HB-5296.HTM AN ACT ESTABLISHING A PUBLIC ELECTRICITY PROCUREMENT AUTHORITY.
SB-0925.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING RECENT ELECTRIC RATE INCREASES.
SB-0863.HTM AN ACT FACILITATING LONG-TERM PLANNING FOR UTILITIES.
SB-0512.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY.
SB-0024.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING INCENTIVES FOR ALTERNATIVE FUEL OR FLEX FUEL VEHICLES.
SB-0017.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ONLINE OPERATION FUEL CONTRIBUTIONS.
HB-7013.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE PERSONAL PROPERTY OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES.
HB-6784.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING INTERCONNECTION STANDARDS FOR PHOTOVOLTAIC AND ON-SITE GENERATION.
HB-6783.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING FUEL CELL MAINTENANCE.
HB-6782.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING LONG-TERM PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM CONTRACTS.
HB-6779.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING UNDERGROUND UTILITY LINES.
HB-6611.HTM AN ACT PROMOTING FOSSIL FUEL CONSERVATION.
HB-6610.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE SOUTH END ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN PLANTSVILLE.
HB-6609.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING UTILITY SUBSTATIONS AND TRANSMISSION FACILITIES.
HB-6605.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING UTILITY SERVICE TERMINATION.
HB-6603.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC UTILITY SHUT-OFF NOTICES.
HB-6601.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING TAXATION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES.
HB-6600.HTM AN ACT REDUCING ELECTRICITY PRICES.
HB-6093.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING SPEED LIMITS ON LIMITED ACCESS HIGHWAYS.
HB-5939.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING A LOCAL OPTION TO PROVIDE A PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR PV AND SOLAR THERMAL SYSTEMS.
HB-5938.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING CABLE TELEVISION CONSUMER PROTECTION.
HB-5937.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING AN INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR THE PURCHASE OF COMPACT FLUORESCENT BULBS.
HB-5929.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING DECENTRALIZED POWER SYSTEMS.
HB-5471.HTM AN ACT PROVIDING FUNDING FOR MUNICIPAL ALTERNATIVE POWER GENERATION PROJECTS.
HB-5469.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING SENIOR CITIZENS' UTILITY BILLS.
HB-6847.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING A SUSPENSION OF THE UTILITY COMPANIES TAX.
HB-6608.HTM AN ACT CREATING RATE RELIEF FOR CONNECTICUT'S RATEPAYERS.
HB-5926.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING TAX CREDITS FOR BIOHEAT.
HB-5925.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING AN INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR REPLACEMENT OF HOME HEATING SYSTEMS.
HB-5592.HTM AN ACT EXEMPTING SCHOOL AND MUNICIPAL DIESEL FUEL USE FROM THE PETROLEUM PRODUCTS GROSS EARNINGS TAX.
HB-5467.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING A SUSPENSION OF THE PETROLEUM PRODUCTS GROSS EARNINGS TAX.
HB-5359.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING A REDUCTION IN THE UTILITIES COMPANIES TAX.
HB-5126.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE RATE OF THE GROSS RECEIPTS TAX ON PETROLEUM PRODUCTS.
HB-5020.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING RESIDENTIAL WINDMILLS.
SB-1021.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE GROSS RECEIPTS TAX ON GASOLINE ADDITIVES.
SB-0979.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING A TAX ON TRANSMISSION SERVICES.
HB-6550.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING INEFFICIENT INCANDESCENT LAMPS.
HB-6848.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING A STATE POWER GENERATING AGENCY.
HB-5847.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING HEATING SYSTEM REPLACEMENT FOR MANSFIELD MIDDLE SCHOOL.
HB-5588.HTM AN ACT EXEMPTING PHOTOVOLTAIC SOLAR INSTALLATIONS FROM THE SALES TAX.
SB-0240.HTM AN ACT PROHIBITING GASOLINE ZONE PRICING.
HB-5360.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING CONSERVATION AND LOAD MANAGEMENT.
HB-5294.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRIC AGGREGATION.
SB-0025.HTM AN ACT REQUIRING STATE-OWNED VEHICLES TO RUN ON ALTERNATIVE FUEL.
HB-5217.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE SALES TAX EXEMPTION FOR RESIDENTIAL WEATHERIZATION PRODUCTS.
HB-5023.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING WINDMILLS.
HB-5022.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING NEW POWER PLANTS.
HB-5021.HTM AN ACT CONCERNING THE ELECTRICITY INDUSTRY.
HB-5019.HTM AN ACT ESTABLISHING A DISTRIBUTED GENERATION TASK FORCE.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Wake up and smell the electricity



Thanks again to Tim White for keeping an eye on legislative action (or inaction) regarding CT electric market regulation. Here's a good summary of the state of affairs published in the Record Journal. Seems that the legislation has finally woken up and is all primed up to act, but -- now here's the shocker -- they can't agree on what action to take!

For more on this topic, read here and here.

Connecticut to cap CO2 emissions


According to this morning's Hartford Courant, Governor Jodi Rell plans to introduce legislation that will cap CO2 emissions from power plants. CO2, a basic product of carbon-based fuel combustion, is considered to be the largest human contribution to the greenhouse effect. Coal combustion, which makes up 12% of our state's electric generation, stands to be hit the hardest from this legislation as coal CO2 emissions are the highest per MW of all traditional fuels. Proceeds from carbon permits, which are to be auctioned, will fund "consumer benefits programs". Industry response in 10...9...8......

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Fuel cell central



This NY Times article is implying that we Connecticutioners may not be doing enough to support fuel cell technology:

"WHILE Connecticut may have the largest concentration of fuel cell-related companies in the nation, sentiment is growing that it could be in danger of losing its edge to other states that now consider fuel cells a lucrative endeavor in alternative energy."

Fuel cells have many advantages for supplying clean, reliable power in remote or environmentally sensitive locations. As a back-up supply, they can come on to full power so fast that computers don't even reboot, which could save millions of dollars in a data center or even lives in a hospital. But they also pose some challenges that make them tough poor contenders for many of the largest potential markets. For example, water, a basic byproduct of the fuel cell reaction, freezes in sub-zero climates and expands within the stack's fragile porous carbon plates. Also, capital costs for stationary fuel cell power is currently around $4500-$5000 per kilowatt, compared with about $500 for traditional power generators. Replacing the 455MW New Haven Harbor station would cost about $2 billion (yes, billion with a "b").

Fuel cell companies rely largely on government grants and venture capital to support continued development (though Proton Energy does have at least one profitable product line). Some feel that with enough support fuel cells could become competitive in more markets and possibly even large-scale power generation or transportation, which would have a huge impact on our state if we maintain our dominance. However, in my opinion we are still a long way from seeing fuel cells dominating any large markets and significantly affecting the way we power our vehicles, generate power or fuel Connecticut's economy.

Should we continue to invest in this technology? Absolutely. Should we expect the world to change overnight? Sorry, but no. There are major technological hurdles in the way and these companies have been working on closing that cost gap for decades. Still, we could see fuel cells popping into more niche markets and it's anyone's guess what role they will play over the next 30 years or so.

For a really good thorough and extensive look at fuel cell technology, download this 5MB pdf from the NETL reference shelf.