The fuel cell (at far right) at Wagner Farms, Eagle Mills, N.Y., has been operational since February, and has been used to heat the milking parlor during the winter. Industry and government officials toured the facility this spring.

Two New York dairies are testing fuel-cell technology to produce their own electricity. A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device, similar to a battery in that it provides continuous DC power, which converts the chemical energy from a fuel directly into electricity and heat. Unlike a battery, which is limited to the stored energy within, a fuel cell is capable of generating power as long as fuel is supplied. These particular fuel cells are fueled by liquefied petroleum gas.

This technology may become a viable alternative to existing power sources for dairy producers due to its high efficiency, low pollution and greater flexibility in installation and operation than conventional power generation.