Do it yourself power

GE MicroGen’s HomeGen 7000 is a domestic heating system that uses fuel cell technology employed by NASA.

People may not normally choose to spend cold winters evenings in the gloom of a candlelit living room, but that is what can happen when a power cut strikes.

Such seasonal affective disorder inducing traumas may soon be a thing of the past with GE MicroGen’s HomeGen 7000, a domestic heating system that uses fuel cell technology employed for years by NASA.

About the size of a refrigerator, the HomeGen 7000 runs on natural gas or propane and produces electricity by combining the hydrogen contained in natural gas or propane with oxygen in the air.

A fuel processor extracts hydrogen from the gas or propane whilst a fuel cell converts the hydrogen into electricity. A power conditioner then converts the fuel cell electricity to the type and quality of power required for use in the home. The heart of the HomeGen 7000 is a Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell, which operates like a battery in that it creates electricity through a reaction which combines the hydrogen in fuel and oxygen from air to produce electricity.

Fuel cells extract hydrogen ions from hydrocarbon fuels and combine them with oxygen to generate power. The output from the process includes electricity, water and heat.

GE MicroGen say that HomeGen 7000 can provide 100% of a homes energy needs whilst producing less than half the amount of carbon dioxide per kWh produced by traditional coal- and oil-burning power plants.

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