National Guard Testing Fuel Cell Energy Source

August 17, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

The Arizona National Guard's Mesa armory reported that it will spend a year testing an experimental fuel cell that could make it independent of the Phoenix area's electrical grid. The fuel cell, to be installed next month, will use natural gas to produce enough electricity to supply most of the armory's needs.

Mesa's gas department received a $168,000 Department of Defense (DOD) grant to install and operate the residential-sized cell. The Mesa test will help demonstrate the reliability of the latest residential proton-exchange membrane fuel cell. The Mesa Gas Division also wants to assess the potential for fuel cells as a market for natural gas. Mesa and the Arizona National Guard previously set up two fuel cell units at the guard's aviation training center in Marana.