A California company has shipped two of its natural gas fueled 5 kW fuel cell systems, one to a European utility and the other to the Houston Advanced Research Center.VALENCIA, California, US, 2002-01-23 [SolarAccess.com] DCH Technology says the undisclosed European utility will use the DCH Enable(TM) proton exchange membrane system to validate DCH fuel cells for use as power quality systems. When tied to the grid, it will also provide the option of distributed power generation. The DCH system is about the size required to meet the average power needs of a home or carry the critical loads in a small business office. The Electric Power Research Institute worked with the utility and DCH to develop the equipment specification and to select key sub-systems such as the ultra-capacitor for load buffering. EPRI tested the performance of the unit prior to shipping, and provided overall project management to accelerate product development. The 5 kW system with natural gas reformer can be used as a power source for an uninterrupted power supply or adjustable-speed drive. It is 50 percent more efficient in fuel-to-electricity conversion than an internal combustion engine generator, says the company. It is available with a variety of output voltage options, allowing it to operate in parallel with the grid or separate. The fuel cell shipped to HARC will be combined with a natural gas reformer, and a consortium of companies organized by HARC will test the system’s performance and reliability as a clean energy source. HARC is currently involved in a number of demonstration projects that are focusing on promising fuel cell technologies that address the needs of its sponsors.