Clean. Renewable. Megawatt in a box. All describe the utility-scale fuel cell that was tested at FirstEnergy’s Eastlake Plant in Eastlake, Ohio, from 2010 to 2015. Using hydrogen for fuel and oxygen from the air, the system produces clean electricity efficiently, quietly and without combustion. The only byproducts of the process are heat and water.

FirstEnergy collaborated with manufacturer Ballard Power Systems of Vancouver, British Columbia, on the 5-year test of the world’s largest utility-scale proton exchange membrane hydrogen-powered fuel cell. The 54-foot-long unit was mounted on a tractor-trailer for mobility and was tested under real-world conditions to better understand its capability to provide generating capacity during summer peak-use periods.

The system produces one megawatt of electricity – enough to power some 600 homes. Unlike wind and solar, a mobile fuel cell system has the ability to provide reliable and dispatchable power where and when it is needed.

Ultimately, fuel cells could be an important tool for meeting our future energy needs. As part of the demonstration process, performance and operating data was evaluated in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) – the utility industry’s association for research projects.