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Let there be light on Teesside

Date 8 Nov 2007

A North East business has scored a world first by designing a fuel cell to power a lighthouse. The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), based at Wilton on Teesside, has developed the fuel cell to withstand the rigours of use in the South Gare lighthouse.

The hydrogen fuel cell has been powering the South Gare light, which can be seen from 25 miles out to sea, for several months now and is housed in a cabinet attached to the lighthouse.

The project is being hailed as a demonstration that fuel cell technology will soon be ready for wider use.

Nigel Perry, CPI's chief executive, said: "The use of the fuel cell at South Gare is a big step forward as we have had to develop a special unit to withstand this demanding location. "Fuel cells have the potential to be an important component of our future energy supply along with the likes of tidal/wave, wind and solar powers, nuclear and some fossil fuel, though we know these have a finite lifespan."

Mark Pearson, energy and process innovation manager at One NorthEast, said: "The successful development of this fuel cell is excellent. It's a world first and the knock-on effect for the energy sector as a whole could be massive. "The fact it's been developed right here in the North East, at the hugely successful CPI at Wilton, backs up our claim that the North East is the energy innovation capital of the UK."

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