Power systems based on fuel cells offer great flexibility. Multiple portable fuels can be used. Fuel cells can operate on a variety of locally available fuels such as natural gas, anaerobic digester gas, methanol, propane, ethanol, biogas, diesel, gasoline or hydrogen. Just about any liquid or gas hydrocarbon fuel can be used as a source for hydrogen atoms in the cell.Other interesting renewable fuels that can be used with a residential fuel cell system include natural gas made from biomass and home distilled ethanol. Solar produced hydrogen could also power a fuel cell unit without the need for complex fuel processing, and it would be totally emission-free.
As reliable distributed power production becomes available, it will be much easier for users to create hybrid systems utilizing PV, wind, and micro-hydro. Fuel cells produce direct current, just as these renewable sources do. Batteries and an inverter are part of both types of systems. Whether renewable systems are added to an existing fuel cell system, or a fuel cell generator is added to an existing renewable system, the combination is a natural and easy one.
Fuel cells enable utilities and co-ops to offer customers an option for buying green, clean, and renewable power.