This news you are sharing of Solid Ox fuel cell is great and will be even better when powered by biogas generated by methane digester. Until then, Natural Gas is a cheap input fuel feedstock.
The poster who listed the negatives of being tethered to a controlled feedstock should get out into the world and research alternatives going on in Fuel Cells. Do some heavy lifting to discover (or even create) more positive reality.
Starting in 2015, the hydrogen economy will start having real traction and we can migrate from combusting fossil fuel feedstocks, and start reacting hydrogen to produce clean/quiet/reliable 24/7/365 power. This is the immutable truth which will pull us out of the quagmire we are in.
I read with interest the news on the new, compact fuel cell. It is wonderful to have such a compact unit, something that can power an average home.
The downside is, of course, that you need a natural gas hookup to power the thing. In itself, this would not be such a bad thing but there are several thoughts i have on this:
* Natural gas, a non-renewable resource that needs to be tapped into by finding gas depsoits, is bad for the environment in its extraction and transportation.
* If one wanted to be self-sufficient (think renewables, such as PV, wind and micro-electric), this new product would not be useful, as you are now tethered to whichever corporation or government.
The overall trend i see, one that hjas been in place forever, is that only those technologies that can be controlled by a centralized power structure (eg: corporations or government) seem to be promotoed in the marketplace and vetted, allowed under regulations.
For example, hydrogen powered vehciles to replace gasoline powered ones have been talked about for some time and are being developed. Thjeir development is encouraged, even subsidized. And, as has been the case for a long, long time, gasoline and related products are king, because their supply and pricing are tightly controlled by corporations, in league with the governments. If they don't like you, they can shut off the supply, price you out of being able to afford its use, etc..
With hydrogen powered vehicles, touted to replace the gas powered ones, exactly the same thing is occurring. An ordinarly person can't simply manufacture their own hydrogen and liquify it easily for their own use in their own vehicles, just as with gasoline. Again, it will be controlled from a centralized location. The supply can always be shut off or regulated, and the price charged for the product will be whatever those who own them want to charge (or, as history teaches us, gouge).
Now with this new natural gas fuel cell, same thing. Who controlls the natural gas? What will the prioce of natural gas be in the future?
What we need is a power source that is not controlled by anyone, is cheap or free and easy to build. I believe that such technology already exists, but is being suppressed. Easy to see why. With great control comes great power (and wealth).