Posted on Sep 4, 2015

Doosan Bets Big on Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Doosan Bets Big on Hydrogen Fuel Cells

(Source: Forbes)

With oil trading under $40 for a barrel of the crude stuff and with stocks taking investors and their investments on a frightening ride, it can be very hard to look away. But looking away can be a good idea especially when it involves positive news about the quiet development of hydrogen fuel cells.

The last time I wrote about these clean power sources I told you about consumer friendly products being marketed by the company, Intelligent Energy. IE’s products range from fuel cells that serve as portable power packs that you can carry in your backpack to provide power your cell phone or laptop, to fuel cells being used in London to power a fleet of taxis.

This time around I’m writing about a much larger application of fuel cell technology. industrial scale fuel cells, the kind being used by Verizon, Whole Foods, Connecticut Public Transportation, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Harford, CT and Fox News at its headquarters in New York City. These units are the products of Doosan Fuel Cell America. And while its products won’t fit in your backpack or even a car, Doosan ’s 400kW generator only occupies 800 sq feet. (Since I can be bad at visualizing space I went and looked up what else would take up 800 sq feet. Being that this is a business column and website, I thought this example would be appropriate; according to the website, OfficeFinder a typical President’s or Chairman of the Board’s office can run as large as 400 sq feet)

For those wondering how much electricity 400kW is and what can be done with it: in Nigeria earlier this month, a 400kW dam hydroelectric power plant was inaugurated. The power from this plant will supply electricity to roughly 10,000 homes. You can read the story here. Now hospitals, stores and TV networks have very intense and large energy demands. For example, St Francis uses two 400kW units to provide 60% of its power needs. The units installed at Fox News are to provide uninterrupted power in the event of a power loss such as Hurricane Sandy wrought on New York/ New Jersey. 400kW is a substantial amount of power.

Doosan Fuel Cell America is a wholly owned subsidiary of South Korea’s Doosan Power. The fuel cell division was created last year with the assets and intellectual property of UTC Power a division of United Technologies UTX -1.11% which Doosan bought. Jeff Chung is the CEO of Doosan Fuel Cell. Understandably, he is excited about the present and future of fuel cell technology. Chung is no energy novice. He comes to the CEO position after time spent with McKinsey and with more traditional power generation technologies.

While Intelligent Energy is focused on products you can see and even hold, Doosan is focused on delivering large-scale power meant to deliver energy savings the guys in finance and environmentalists notice but the rest of us just know the power is on.

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