Siemens to build fuel cell plant

Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp. will build a USD 122 million fuel cell plant in the suburb of Munhall in the area of Pittsburgh, USA. Groundbreaking is set for 4 October, with plans for the plant to be fully operational by 2003. The plant will initially employ 150 people with plans to expand to a manufacturing and office complex with 450 to 500 employees by 2006, Siemens officials said. The plant will produce fuel cells and combination fuel cell turbines that could be used as self-contained electrical generators for buildings like hospitals, office towers and military installations. The combination fuel cell-turbines are about the size of a rail car; the cells alone are about half that size. Solid oxide fuel cells operate on the same principal as a battery, electrochemically producing electric current from chemical energy in a fuel. But the fuel used, in this case, hydrogen and natural gas, can be replenished, meaning a fuel cell can’t go “deadâ€? like a normal battery. The only byproducts of the process are water, heat and carbon dioxide.

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