Siemens Westinghouse Cancels Fuel Cell Plant Plans

February 03, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

Citing sluggish sales and problems developing the technology, Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp. (SWPC, Orlando, FL) has cancelled plans on a $122 million Pittsburgh fuel cell plant that would have employed 500 people. Siemens is delaying plans for the plant in Munhall indefinitely, and will instead invest $2 million at an existing plant in another suburb.

When SWPC announced plans in 2001 for the 180,000ft² plant in Munhall, politicians and economic experts called it a coup. However, the plant quickly began slipping away. In April, SWPC delayed plans to open the plant until 2006, joining several companies that backed away from fuel cell development. Siemens Westinghouse said that fuel cells remain too expensive to compete with traditional sources of electricity production.

Thomas Flower, head of the company's fuel cells division, stated, "We are convinced that fuel cell technology has a great future. ...My target is to make this a commercially viable business, to turn this around and make something out of this."