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12/26/2012 02:42 PM     print story email story  

Green Technology Spotlight: Fuel Cells Transform Methane Into Fuel, Electricity

SustainableBusiness.com News

We're hearing about the problems of methane emissions more these days, dangerously increasing as the polar icecaps melt, and from industrial processes like natural gas fracking and landfill emissions. 

Methane is also emitted from wastewater plants which, in a demonstration project, is being put to use to fuel cars and generate electricity at the same time.

The production process, which may be the only one of its kind in the world, routes the methane produced during wastewater treatment into high-temperature fuel cells. There, the hydrogen is separated and then sent through tubes straight to the fueling station.

A fueling station opened recently in California where hydrogen will fuel 150 cars a day, as well as power the station.

The National Fuel Cell Research Center at University of California/ Irvine opened the station in conjunction with the Orange County Sanitation District.

Best yet, the technology is expected to produce hydrogen fuel that competes on a cost basis with gasoline soon.

"We hope the public can see this and say, 'Wow! It is not something of the far-out future,' George Jetsen, if you will. It is here today and it is deployable today," Tom Mutchler of Air Products and Chemicals, a sponsor and developer of the project, told ABC News.



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