However, GE’s major breakthrough is a prototype fuel cell stack with potential energy conversion efficiency of over 50% that could be manufactured for about $800 per kilowatt. This dollar per power achievement puts GE within reach of $500/kW, the threshold where fuel cells become economically competitive against conventional coal-fired power plants.
Coal plus fuel cells resonate well for many experts because the US has several-hundred years of coal reserves, and fuel cells can rescue more energy from this fuel supply than conventional coal-fired plants. In other words, coal fuel cells can release America from foreign oil dependency for electricity generation while providing more electrons per pound of coal than conventional technologies.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you already know that I don’t like fuel cells, and I don’t like coal. However, I like filthy combustion and reliance on foreign petroleum even less. I therefore endorse GE’s $800/kW coal-fired fuel cell as a great leap forward.
If the US is not yet ready to make a substantial investment in renewable energy, it would at least be sensible to embrace coal-fired fuel cells. While blatantly side-stepping the glaring pollution and greenhouse gas problems presented by coal gasification, we can at least disentangle ourselves from the need to exert military dominance over the Middle East to protect our fossil fuel supply.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.