What is believed to be the world’s first fuel cell-gas turbine hybrid power plant is now generating electricity. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham joined Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp. and Southern California Edison last week in announcing that the world’s first combination of a fuel cell and microturbine has passed a key site acceptance test and the major endurance phase of its testing is underway. Linked together in a mini-power plant the size of a small house trailer, the advanced generator is being tested at the National Fuel Cell Research Center on the campus of the University of California-Irvine.
“This new technology has the potential to alter the landscape of tomorrow’s power industry,” Abraham said. “It offers a preview of the day when more of our electricity will be generated by super-clean, high-efficiency power units sited near the consumer. Distributed generation could play a key role in strengthening the security and reliability of our power supply, and fuel cell-turbine hybrids could help make distributed power a reality.”