Verizon has been using fuel cell technology to power one of its facilities in Garden City, N.Y., on Long Island. Fuel cells generate electrical power by combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms, giving off water and heat as byproducts. They are considered an extremely clean and efficient energy source, as noted in the CNet story about the facility. An excerpt:
Seven fuel cells generate power for a 292,000-square-foot facility that provides telephone and data services to some 35,000 customers on Long Island. And it's connected to the commercial power grid as backup. This is a complete paradigm shift for a company that traditionally uses diesel-fueled generators as backups to the commercial grid.
While providing gains in energy efficiency and good corporate citizenship, the expense of using fuel cells means we won't likely see widespread use soon. "The biggest downside of the technology is the cost," said Rob Roche from UTC Power, which makes the fuel cells Verizon is using. "The challenge for us is to simplify the system and increase production volumes to reduce the cost of deploying it."