Turning Signals to Stories 

Here is where we’ll explore many possible futures. These scenarios challenge us to imagine how hydrogen and fuel cells might become more deeply embedded in our world.

Here are possible news headlines and stories we might see in the years ahead:

Fuel Cells Go Big at Burning Man

In 2007, Twitter found its early adopter community at SXSW.  Fifteen years later it looks like Burning Man might help mainstream the idea of a fuel cell powered energy revolution. One of the surprise viral images from Burning Man 2022 were Instagram photos and Snaps of camps being powered by water cooler size portable solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs).  These portable power plants replaced small diesel generators and camps plugged into trailer batteries. Fuel cells delivered clean energy to tens of thousands of Burners, but not everyone is convinced.  Despite the rave reviews, some at Burning Man shared images of empty fuel tanks littered on the ground and want to avoid disposable fuel cartridges.

Microsoft Gets into the Energy Business

It has been nearly ten years since Microsoft first tested fuel cells integrated into data center server racks.  In 2015, the software company realized fuel cells could reduce the cost and complexity of energy intensive data centers.  Now the software giant is working with large industrial clients to integrate fuel cells to their factories.

The Cordless Christmas: Unplugging Products

The hottest holiday season trend is cutting the cord.  Product designers are embedding micro fuel cells inside everyday items to eliminate the need of plugging into a wall socket. Ikea is selling cordless lamps that are refueled with portable cartridges once a year.  Samsung is selling a thin screen television that does not have a dangling cord.  Air Conditioners are now refueled once a season with a portable fuel tank.  Last week, utility tanks dropped 7% when Amazon announced it would be getting into the business of home delivery of fuel cartridges.

Tesla Announces Fuel Cell Hybrid

Twenty years ago, former Telsa CEO Elon Musk called them ‘fool cells’.  Today, one of the world’s leading EV producers announced it would integrate fuel cell range extenders (REX) into its new SUV and trucks.  Since 2027, Tesla has struggled to expand sales into urban buyers who do not have the option of plugging in at home.  While Battery-powered EVs continue to lead sales of new energy vehicles, the global auto industry has shown a preference towards refueling over recharging.  It looks like fool cells might have the last laugh.

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