In a dramatic step toward the development of a whole new way ofgenerating electricity, Plug Power demonstrated last week the firstresidential fuel cell to successfully power a home.

The Plug Power 7000, a prototype residential power generationsystem was unveiled before a gathering of government energyofficials and utility representatives. The demonstration marked thefirst time a fuel cell has been used to provide a home’s completeelectricity. Among the items in the home powered by the fuel cellare a refrigerator, air conditioner, dishwasher, oven, television,VCR, microwave, other small appliances and lighting.

“The introduction of residential fuel cells will forever changethe way we think about buying and generating power,” said GaryMittleman, president of Plug Power. The company, whose work onautomotive fuel cells has received national attention, is a jointventure between DTE Energy of Detroit, Michigan’s largest electricutility, and Mechanical Technology, Inc. (MTI), a pioneer developerof fuel cells. Plug Power expects to introduce a commercial systemfor home power generation by 2000. While the prototype unitunveiled today was hydrogen-based, commercial units will run onnatural gas, propane or methanol.

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