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August 06, 2014

General Electric is building a fuel cell manufacturing facility in upstate New York to pilot a new form of fuel cell that uses stainless steel in place of platinum and rare metals.

“Scientists in GE labs recently cracked an important conundrum involving one iteration of the technology called solid oxide fuel cell, or SOFC,” says GE's corporate blog. “The breakthrough allowed the company to start building a new pilot fuel cell manufacturing and development facility in upstate New York.”

Just a few months ago, the chief engineering officer of GE’s Power Conversion division said fuel-cell technology ultimately would be stymied by the high cost of platinum.

GE says its new fuel cell system’s power generation efficiency can reach 65 percent, and overall efficiency can grow to 95 percent when the system is configured to capture waste heat produced by the process. The basic configuration of the system can generate between 1 to 10 megawatts of power.

GE says its fuel cell can generate electricity at any location with a supply of natural gas, does not need new transmission lines and produces lower emissions than conventional power plants.

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