Ed Lieberman with Upstart Power

Industrial Talk is onsite at PowerGen and talking to Ed Lieberman, Vice President – Sales with Upstart Power, Inc. about “Fuel Cell Generators – dependable, sustainable and carbon efficient”.  Here are some of the key takeaways from our conversation:

  • Fuel cell technology for residential power generation. 0:03
    • Ed, an engineer turned MBA, discusses upstart power's residential power generator using fuel cell technology.
    • Upstart Power leverages solid oxide fuel cell technology, a less common but promising alternative to hydrogen fuel cells.
    • Ed explains how Fusion's solid oxide technology allows for versatile fuel sources, including propane, natural gas, and renewable propane.
  • Fuel cells for home power backup. 4:28
    • SEd explains that Upstart's fuel cell system can provide 2024 hours of power during an outage, using propane as a backup source.
    • Maintenance for the fuel cell system is negligible, with oil changes required only twice a year.
    • Ed highlights the minimal maintenance required for fuel cells, including a 10-year life for the air filter, which could be replaced by a homeowner.
    • The company is partnering with other organizations to establish a sales, maintenance, and installation channel, with plans to have systems installed as early as the second half of this year.
    • Ed Lieberman discusses his company, Upstart Power, and their innovative fuel cell technology.
    • Scott MacKenzie is impressed with the technology and looks forward to connecting with Ed.
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Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/edlieberman/

Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/upstart-power-inc/

Company Website: https://www.upstartpower.com/




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propane, fuel cell, solution, power, solar, systems, industrial, fuel cell technology, talk, year, lieberman, upstart, louisiana, industry, home, company, technology, size, day, people


Welcome to the Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go.


Alright, thank you once again for joining Industrial Talk. And thank you for your continued continued support of an ecosystem that is constantly expanding, and celebrating industry professionals all around the world. You're bold, you're brave, you dare greatly. You're solving problems and you're changing lives, and therefore you're changing the world. Each and every day. We are broadcasting here on site at PowerGen, 24, New Orleans, Louisiana is the location. And it is it's a collection of companies that are truly solving problems. Incredible conversations, incredible solutions. But I've been just in the salt mine. So I haven't been able to go look around and geek out on stuff. But I've had great guests. One of them goes by the name of Ed Lieberman. The company is upstart power, and we're going to be talking about fuel cells. I'm all giddy and excited about that. How you doing it?


Pretty good. Pretty good. Scott, thank you very much for having me out here on Industrial Talk.


Yes. Look at you. You were looking at my logo. That's what you were doing. You're saying? What were what am I? You're saying? Yeah. I appreciate it. You havin a good conference?


I am. I am. It's a great time.


It is really unique for this industry. A lot of really fantastic conversations. I'm just telling you, this is exciting stuff. All right, before we get into the fuel cell, just because I want to know more about it. Tell us a little bit about who it is. Sure.


It's a engineer, gone MBA, vice president of sales at upstart power, and we're developing a really exciting residential power generator using fuel cell technology.


All right. We're going to talk about what just before the what's the chemistry what is happening in the world of fuel cell tickets just through what it is? Sure.


So help us for those of us that aren't familiar with fuel cells? Yes. Two flavors. One is what they call the hydrogen fuel cell. Yeah, in the industry known as PEM proton exchange membrane, and then there's another flavor called solid oxide. And what upstart is doing is leveraging the solid oxide fuel cell. a fuel cell is a device that create uses a chemical reaction to produce power, which is different than internal combustion engine, which is combusting the fuel and using that to turn an alternator and generate power.


So really, you're just looking for a fuel supply? And in this case, because the people from the propane people, you're using propane as a as a primary fuel source, yep.


So the solid oxide technology allows us to use propane, but also natural gas and hydrogen as hydrogen becomes available.


So your Fusion? Yeah. You're agnostic, right, sir. So. So really, the solution that you have right in front of us is something that can be plug and play in a sense of I have a space if I'm a natural gas. But


if your natural gas customer, just plug it right into your line, if you want to have your own source of fuel, because you're concerned about natural gas pipelines shutting off in an earthquake in California. You just set up a propane tank right there. And you're off the road. No, no tweaking No. Nothing special. Matter of fact, we can even use renewable versions of those natural gas or the renewable propane and run just as smoothly


my kids, do I get kickbacks you do for renewable propane. Kickbacks in a nice way, not in the negative connotation. They're cheap. What's the what's the typical size of these things? I mean, just I'm looking at it. I've got a piece of paper that says it looks it looks pretty doggone good. And they they can still sit outside, right?


They do. So there are systems designed to be wall mountable, oh, generally on the side of someone's garage or back of their house. So it makes it very easy to service maybe very easy to install, don't need a poor pad like you would for a traditional generator. Physically, they're about the same size as a Tesla Powerwall. They're about two thirds of the weight. In terms of size for power, it does about 30 kilowatt hours a day, which just so happens to be the amount of power the Department of Energy says is the average US home. Not a coincidence that we designed for that size. Now, your home might be bigger than average.


So I am a compound that's I don't call it a home. It's a compound. Okay, now.


We can go to Kennebunkport and check out your place there.


Yeah, you'll be the only one there. So what if what if what if If it's not my average home, what if it's a home that's larger or smaller or whatever it might be


smaller, not a problem. Larger, not larger, not a problem either. We just take multiple systems, we've actually run as many as 12 on the same bus. So you have 30 kilowatt hours a day 6090 120 kilowatts kind of depends on what you need is. The fuel cell is really designed for the paradigm of solar is great. Everyone loves solar. But solar doesn't work that great at night. So people put a battery with the solar battery solar looks fantastic solar in the day battery at night runs around the clock. The problem is what happens when you have a major outage. And we've been seeing a lot of those lately, whether it's a California wildfire, or Texas ice storm, Louisiana flood, Florida hurricane, I can go on and on as we go around the country with these kinds of outages. Now, a battery is great for four 812 hours of power. But what happens when you have 2024 hours a day two days of power outage? That's where you need something with a lot more energy density, such as propane. So upstart can take that propane, turn that into electricity, and run that same home, when there's no solar available when the battery can handle it for hours for days for weeks, and in some cases, months, depending on the size of your


day. What is. So if I'm running a propane solution, or gas, it doesn't really matter. And it goes into your your fuel cell? Is there any degradation of the fuel cell is or how do you how do you maintain that asset? Sure.


So maintenance is negligible. So if you think about an internal combustion engine has sparkplugs, that as oil changes, basically twice a year, you need to service those units. And it's pretty costly, it can be upwards of $1,000 a year to pay for that maintenance. The fuel cell has minimal degradation, and the only wear item on it with a 10 year life is an air filter. And we see that air filter being changed once every five years and probably could be done by a homeowner. So very, very little maintenance. That's one of the big perks of fuel cell technologies, and why they're often put in remote locations besides residential homes as well. But


does the secret sauce that exists within the the fuel cell does that ever have to be replaced?


So our fuel cell is being built with a 10? year life? Okay, so eventually it will wear out, like any technology. But with a 10-year life, we have a great price point that can allow it to compete head on with internal combustion generators.


What do you see it going? I mean, what's like the future outside of our is the technology improving? Is it becoming more efficient? Is it taking fuel sources like propane and and extracting more value out of it? What Where do you see it go?


I think the answer is yes, yes. And yes, in all of those different directions, the systems are getting more and more efficient, more and more power. But we're also getting more and more use cases such as this example, five years ago, nobody really thought people thought solar battery was that was was everything. And you didn't really need to add resilience. But with all the challenges, the grids that are having with all the storms, people are looking for more and more redundancy on their home. So those are some great applications that are people are looking for solutions. And that's the solution where we think we can solve quite well.


How quickly how quickly, can I have something installed? Perfect, great question.


So we're still a young company. So we have a dozen so systems off in Puerto Rico that we're doing a lot of testing, the systems are going to become fully certified to NCCS a standard end of this month, early next month timeframe. h2 second half of this year, we're actually firing up a manufacturing facility in Texas, and that's gonna allow us to have much larger volumes. So I'd say we could have systems to you as early as second half of this year,


you so you're vertically integrated, like your your your My call you boom, I need a fuel cell and you're saying great, give us some stats. And then he was like, Okay, great. And be able to work that out.


Right now. What we're doing is we're partnering with a number of other different organizations, and they are supporting us as our sales channel as our maintenance channel as our operations and installation channel. Big solar companies are some of our partners, we're looking at people in the that's why we're talking with the park people, right? They know all of the different marketers for the propane systems and hey, if someone is selling you a propane tank, and helping you build a propane home of the future, doesn't just fit right into that solution. Just makes a lot of sense. It makes


complete sense. It does. I mean, why not have that conversation? Especially here in Louisiana here in Louisiana,


right? There's a lot of trouble between In hurricanes and floods and challenges here, that people are looking for resiliency solutions. As a matter of fact, yesterday morning, the President of energy was talking about the last hurricane that came through. They had customers that didn't have power for seven days. That's tough. And this is a solution that can solve that problem


right here. And you guys it it was it was just that way it was. And it was hot and humid and, and you get really edgy, super edgy. You try not to be edgy, but you are edgy. How do they get ahold of you head? Best


way to find this is on our website, www dot hotstart powered.com Edie Lieberman to be found on LinkedIn, you want to reach out to me directly.


Cool. I like that. As you were absolutely wonderful. That's mad technology. I love that solution. I just gotta wait around before I have a little cash in my pocket. But I'm gonna do something cool.


We'd love to have you there. There


you go. All right listeners. We're gonna have all the contact information for Ed out on Industrial Talk you know that and we're going to have his LinkedIn stack card out there as well. So reach out to this jet fuel cells. Fabulous. Says exciting times. Exciting touch you're living all right. We're gonna wrap it up on the other side. Stay tuned we will be right back. You're


listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network


Ed Lieberman. This is a must connect individual. So I'm at this event I'm at you know this was PowerGen, right. It was that PowerGen. And this fuel cell that was talking about in the conversation I went over to the and saw it it physically it's streamlined it it looks fast hanging on the go the display there it just looked fast. cool technology. Futures really pretty cool man. There's a lot of really creative individuals and companies out there trying to make a difference and add in and company upstart power definitely are doing it. Industrial Talk is here for you, industrial professionals all around the world. It doesn't matter where you're at. You can be a part of this ever-expanding ecosystem. Do so go out to IndustrialTalk.com Reach out to add change the world. You know what, you know the thing. So anyway, we're going to have another great conversation coming from Power Change shortly so stay tuned.

Industrial Talk is onsite at PowerGen and talking to Ed Lieberman, Vice President - Sales with Upstart Power, Inc. about "Fuel Cell Generators - dependable, sustainable and carbon efficient".
Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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