Florida Demonstrates Hydrogen Fuel Cell at State Park

June 24, 2005

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Progress Energy installed a solar-powered hydrogen generator and fuel cell at Homosassa Springs State Park on June 24. The system consists of a photovoltaic (PV) array rated at 5 kilowatts (kW) that generates hydrogen for a fuel cell, which, in turn, produces a portion of the electricity used at the park's Wildlife Encounter Pavilion. The system is quiet and produces water as its only emission.

Located about 75 miles north of St. Petersburg, Homosassa Springs is one of the prime viewing places for the endangered West Indian Manatee. Florida State Parks calls it one of the loveliest of its 158 parks, and it is also one of its most popular parks, with more than 300,000 visitors per year. DEP Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs and Energy Allan Bedwell said, "Visitors to Homosassa Springs will now experience more than the Real Florida – they will glimpse our nation's energy future." See a list of DEP's hygrogen fuel cell demonstration projects.

Progress Energy, which is headquartered in St. Petersburg and provides electricity services to 1.5 million customers in Florida, installed the system and contributed part of the funding. The company will track the performance of the fuel cell on its Web site, where it also publishes a short project description with photos of the electrolyzer and hydrogen storage tank.