Hydrogenics Corporation has been awarded a contract by American Power Conversion to deliver 500 hydrogen fuel cell modules. The 500 HyPM XR 12 kW Fuel Cell Power Modules will be integrated with American Power’s InfraStruXure architecture for use in business data centers as a source of backup power in case of electricity failure. The fuel cell modules will satisfy necessary requirements for powering air conditioning and generating electricity for the data centers.
Many large corporations are starting to see the wisdom of turning to hydrogen for backup power or even for the main power source for their data centers. Take Verizon for instance, which converted its call-switching center and office building last September in Garden City, New York to run on hydrogen as its primary power source. This means that even during an electrical outage on the grid, Verizon customers will still be able to make phone calls since the call-switching center isn’t tied to the grid.
The Hydrogenics contract is also important not only because it’s their largest single fuel cell order to date, but for two other reasons as well. First, fuel cells are still expensive to produce and as such have typically been ordered in smaller quantities. Smaller quantities also keep prices up, but as larger orders start to roll in, companies like Hydrogenics can work on their manufacturing process of large orders, which will inevitably drive prices down.
Second, large orders of hydrogen fuel cells may be a signal of momentum in this area and a sign of many further large orders to come for other manufacturers. As more manufacturers receive larger and larger orders. they have a chance to work on their manufacturing processes to drive prices down and compete with other manufacturers. This kind of momentum will have a positive effect on the hydrogen fuel cell industry and for consumers who require the lowest possible prices.
This same momentum will also inevitably spill over into the hydrogen auto industry as well, so that manufacturers will be able to produce mass quantities of fuel cells at lower and lower costs. This kind of momentum is yet another marker in the growth of the hydrogen industry and in years to come, we may be looking back at this point in time to acknowledge this key shift to the future of hydrogen energy for all.