Stationary power is the most mature application for fuel cells. Stationary fuel cell units are used for backup power, power for remote locations, stand-alone power plants for towns and cities, distributed generation for buildings, and co-generation (in which excess thermal energy from electricity generation is used for heat). Approximately, 600 systems that produce 10 kilowatts or more have been built and operated worldwide to date, most fueled by natural gas. It is estimated that more than a thousand smaller stationary fuel cells (less than 10 kilowatts) have been built and operated to power homes and provide backup power. Technology validation of stationary and distributed generation systems will help to understand the issues associated with integrating fuel cells with the electrical grid and using fuel cells for combined heat and power for buildings.
To learn more about stationary/distributed generation technology validation projects, see:
Additional DOE stationary/distributed generation technology validation activities include: