May, 2003
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Coleman Powermate Fuel Cell Generator Earns UL Listing


Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), announced that the Coleman Powermate AirGen™ fuel cell generator has been determined to comply with UL 1778, “Standard for Uninterruptible Power Supply Equipment” and UL’s Outline of Investigation for Portable Fuel Cell Power Plants, subject 2262.

Using the UL-Recognized Ballard Power Systems Nexa™ fuel cell power module as a major component, the AirGen™ generator converts hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and allows the generator to be used as a movable power source and backup power system. The UL-Listed AirGen™ generator has a built-in power inverter that can produce up to 1,000 watts of alternating current (AC) power as long as hydrogen gas is supplied to the internal fuel cell. The power inverter converts the fuel cell’s direct current (DC) power into electricity that can power standard electronics, computers and appliances.

“The AirGen™ fuel cell generator automatically senses when utility power fails and acts as an uninterruptible power supply, keeping mission-critical computer and phone systems online,” said Ken Frank, senior research and development engineer for Coleman Powermate, defining the generator’s most significant operating feature. “It also acts as a surge protector, buffering expensive electronics from dangerous power spikes and regulating voltage.”

“UL recognizes the unique challenges that fuel cell technologies present to regulators and also the opportunities they offer the public and environment as we consider reduced dependence on fossil fuels,” said Kent Whitfield, leader of distributed generation technologies for UL. “The key for us is to ensure that products are safe, that our evaluations meet regulator’s concerns while always being conscious of the fact that quick turnaround time is very important to the industry.”

Ray Stanko, UL engineer for the investigation of the generator added, “Projects of this scope, specifically those involving products that are completely new to the market place, pose unique challenges to both the manufacturer and to UL. It was only through the excellent cooperation between the Coleman Powermate staff and the UL evaluation team, along with a thorough understanding of each other’s objectives and constraints that the investigation was completed in such a timely manner.”
For more information about UL’s distributed generation equipment testing services, visit

For more information about the AirGen™ fuel cell generator, visit

Concrete Primer now in its fifth edition

First published in 1928, the “Concrete Primer (SP-1)” is the American Concrete Institute’s (ACI) first special publication and still one of its most informative. This new 2002 edition continues the traditional question-and-answer format of the first edition, written by F.R. McMillan and later revised by Lewis Tuthill. The primer answers, in simple language, more than 200 questions spanning a broad range of subjects including:
  • Concrete properties and ingredients
  • Structural design
  • Activities prior to and during construction
  • Post-construction evaluation, maintenance, and repair
  • Testing, both in the lab and on the jobsite
Along with most of the answers in this latest revision, authors Bryant Mather and Celik Ozyildirim have included references to applicable documents in the “ACI Manual of Concrete Practice (MCP).” “We regard this as the introduction to the MCP, ACI’s multi-volume compilation of its current technical committee documents,” say the authors. “We have also cited many ASTM standards.”

“Concrete Primer (SP-1)” will demystify concrete for anyone new to its complexities while serving as a useful reference for even the most seasoned concrete producers, designers, and field personnel. The 84-page fact-filled volume is $28 for ACI members and $46.50 for nonmembers. For more information or to order, call 248-848-3800 or visit ACI’s online bookstore at

FLASH leads the way to disaster safety in hurricane vulnerable area

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) represents a partnership between the insurance industry, the state of Florida, the federal government and several not for profit organizations dedicated to promoting disaster safety.

With 80 percent of Florida’s population living in hurricane vulnerable coastal counties, and $795.1 billion in residential property exposed to hurricane and severe coastal storm hazards, there is a need for a comprehensive public awareness and education campaign. FLASH meets that need. In addition to dangers from hurricanes, Florida is experiencing ongoing drought and is at increased risk for wildfires.

Information about Blueprint for Safety, a code-plus program with the latest techniques in disaster safety building, as well as other resources for making homes safer from flooding, hurricanes, lightning, wildfire and severe windstorms can be found on the World Wide Web at