A report from an international consulting firm says the future of power generation may not depend on refinements in wind, solar, coal or nuclear energy, but by harnessing a century-old technology.NEW YORK, New York, US, 2001-05-29 [SolarAccess.com] A report from an international consulting firm says the future of power generation may not depend on refinements in wind, solar, coal or nuclear energy, but by harnessing a century-old technology. New advances in fuel cells has automobile manufacturers, power utilities, governments and markets and taking notice, say two reports by Technical Insights, a unit of Frost & Sullivan. The reports predict that fuel cells for vehicles and stationary and portable applications will generate US$8 billion in 2005, and continue to grow to $32 billion by 2010. “Fuel cells are an efficient, non-polluting power source that do not produce noise and have no moving parts,” explains research director Leo O’Connor. “Compared with conventional fossil fuel power sources, fuel cells are exceptionally clean and efficient.” The demand for reliable power is expected to spur the market for fuel cells, especially in areas of residential or industrial expansion on the fringes of a public grid. In the United States, the primary factors influencing fuel cell demand will be deregulation, increases in the cost of public power, and a need for a reliable power supply free of fossil fuels. For vehicles, fuel cells promise to lower automotive emissions while, for the portable market, fuel cells offer an alternative source of power for either industry or homes during a power outage. The main barrier to fuel cell technology is the high cost of manufacturing the devices, which has limited them to a few applications. Falling prices and new technologies indicate that the fuel cell’s time has finally arrived, explains O’Connor. Frost & Sullivan is based in San Jose, California, and provides market consulting and training. It recently acquired Technical Insights.