Fuel Cells in Oregon
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Fuel cells convert energy from a fuel into electrical energy. Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction using hydrogen and oxygen. Fuel cells are different from conventional batteries in that they can be "recharged" by simply filling them up with more fuel, typically hydrogen. Fuel cells are clean in that their "waste" output is plain water.
Hillsboro-based ClearEdge Power makes fuel cells, which use natural gas to generate electricity. Southern California Gas invested $1 million in ClearEdge.
Their fuel cell, the ClearEdge5 (right), consumes about 40% less fuel than power and heat delivered through the grid, according to the company.
ClearEdge has about 100 units deployed on the West Coast and in Korea where the company signed a strategic partnership in June to deliver 800 of the fuel cells over three years.
ClearEdge, which employs more than 200 people, will continue to manufacture its fuel cells in Hillsboro.
Bloom Energy uses stacked fuel cells, housed in a refrigerator-sized unit – the Bloom Box. It typically uses natural gas to generate electricity.
Apple is buying fuel cells from Bloom Energy for its data center in Maiden, North Carolina. Apple is planning to build a massive 4.8 MW fuel cell farm for a data center that will consume 20 MW, according to Apple’s latest figures. Apple is also building a similar data center next to Facebook's data center in Prineville, Oregon.
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