US company ClearEdge Power has announced major sale of fuel cells to a renewable energy company in Austria.

Gussing Renewable Energy of Gussing Austria will be buying thousands of ClearEdge fuel cells – enough to produce 50 MW of power by 2020. The Austrian company will adapt the fuel cells to make electricity from renewable biogas produced by farm and forest waste.

OPB News reports that the deal could be ‘a game changer’ for both the company and the fuel cell industry.

ClearEdge Power makes fuel cells that turn natural gas into electricity without burning it. Instead, the cells pull hydrogen out of the gas and use a chemical process to deliver power directly to a building.

About 125 ClearEdge fuel cells are operating today on the West Coast and in South Korea. The company has another order for 800 units.

“This is a huge deal for the company,” says Nicole Elovitz, marketing director for ClearEdge Power. “We’ve never seen a sale this big. It will change everything.”

Sam Jaffe, an industry analyst for IDC Energy Insights told OPB News that the deal is a boost for the entire fuel cell industry, which has struggled to establish itself as a reliable and affordable source of power.

“From a traditional energy industry perspective it’s tiny. Fifty MW is about the smallest power plant you can build. But for the fuel cell industry, which is young and very small, it’s enormous, and it’s a very significant deal. It opens up the possibility that this can be recreated elsewhere, especially in Europe,” says Jaffe.

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