NY utility to buy 45 fuel cells, some for homes
Fuel cells combine hydrogen with oxygen to create electricity leaving water as a byproduct.
LIPA's fuel cells, manufactured by Plug Power Inc. (PLUG.O), get their hydrogen supply from natural gas. LIPA will install 25 of the cells at its West Babylon fuel cell demonstration site and 20 of them will power and heat residences, the first time LIPA installs fuel cells in homes.
In the past, LIPA has also placed fuel cells at commercial locations in Long Island, including Hofstra University and the West Babylon train station.
Hydrogen in nature is usually bonded to carbon, as in fossil fuels such as gasoline or natural gas, or to oxygen such as in water. The supply of hydrogen for fuel cells can be extracted from fossil fuels or from water using alternative energies such as solar and wind, which are cleaner.
LIPA's fuel cells will provide a total of about 225 kilowatts, about enough to power the equivalent amount of average homes.
LIPA Chairman Richard Kessel in a statement said he hoped thousands of Long Island homes and businesses eventually would have fuel cells to relieve LIPA of some of the resources needed to buy additional power plants on Long Island.
LIPA would not say how much the fuel cells cost.