California Company Creates Biomass Fuel Cells

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen March 6, 2013 0
A California company is developing a bio-mass based fuel cell system for a Native American tribe in Humboldt County.
A California company is developing a bio-mass based fuel cell system for a Native American tribe in Humboldt County.

A new way of generating electricity has been sold to a Native American tribe in Humboldt County, California, according to a press release from Ballard Power Systems. This company, which specializes in clean power energy systems, announced the deal on February 27.

The technology, known as a biomass-to-fuel cell system, operates by turning biodegradable substances into a hydrogen synthetic gas using a pyrolysis gasification machine. This vapor is then purified, producing a so-called "hydrogen stream" which powers the state-of-the-art fuel system. During operation, the device will be capable of producing 175 kilowatts.

A statement from Ballard suggests that this is the first biomass generator of its kind, and could be the first of a series of machines that delivers low-cost electricity without consuming environmentally harmful fossil fuels. This sentiment was echoed by Arla Ramsey, a senior official of the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe, which purchased the technology. 

"The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe is committed to renewable power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the energy efficiency of our facilities," Ramsey said. "Biomass-to-fuel cell power is an excellent match for our community and our region, and we see tremendous potential for deployments beyond our own facilities."

The initiative is part of an effort being conducted by the Schatz Energy Research Center, which is affiliated with Humboldt State University. The project aims to develop and produce commercial-scale renewable energy solutions that are as effective as they are affordable. According to the research organization, the Ballard system fulfills one goal included in a 20-year development plan designed to bring clean power to Humboldt County in a comprehensive way.

Stay with the LifeIsGreen.com for more updates on this and other green developments happening around the United States. 

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