Florida’s First Fuel Cell-Powered Community in the Works

Miami-based Distribution Management Services Inc. will soon commence the construction of 174 deluxe affordable homes in Poinciana, Fla., but the residential project won’t be your typical single-family home development. Now that DMGS has signed a letter of intent with Miami-headquartered ConeXa Products, the housing enclave, located about 30 miles south of Orlando, will become the first in the State of Florida to be powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology. Can the widespread application of this technology at commercial properties be too far behind? ConeXa, a distributor for Beaverton, Ore.-based Hydra Fuel Cell Corp., will provide HydraStax hydrogen fuel cells for the DMGS project, which, not so long ago, was destined for a different future–until the residential real estate market downshifted into a less desirable cycle. “I acquired 266 lots and was selling them when things were good, but now I can’t give them away,” DMGS president Leo Greenfield said. “So what we’re doing is we’re building affordable homes. They will constitute a series of villages, all incorporated into one city, and they will have green properties.” Hydrogen cell technology will be, perhaps, the most progressive of those green properties. “Hydrogen fuel cell is clean energy,” Jim Twedt, president and CEO of Hydra Fuel Cell, noted. “There are no emissions from it–only pure water. If there area power outages, you’ll still have power. And hopefully, it will be cheaper than grid, and you can sell excess power back to grid.” The benefits, he added, extend beyond the front door. “If you have hydrogen fuel at home, you could fill your hydrogen car at home.” So, will the hydrogen fuel cell trend extend beyond the residential real estate sector in the near future? Given the current state of the economy and other hard-hitting issues, it seems a reasonable concept. “The future is wind, solar and hydrogen,” said Twedt. “We’re running out of oil, and it’s expensive, as you know. All the car companies are coming out with hydrogen fuel cell cars, and we’re starting to see it in buildings. We have a partnership in Florida with companies to generate hydrogen fuel and introduce it as a commercial product to establish Florida as a center for hydrogen technology.” Work on the DMGS project is on schedule to kick off this summer with the construction of the first 25 of the 174 residences.