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TREND WATCH

<i> Items were compiled and edited by Grassroots Research, a unit of the San Francisco money management firm of RCM Capital Management</i>

A roundup of business developments spotted by other publications. Anchorage Hub for UPS: United Parcel Service is bidding for a bigger part of the Asian and Alaskan cargo handling business by setting up a $3.5-million hub at Anchorage International Airport, next door to Federal Express’ new sorting hub. UPS would also like to wrest the rights to fly into Tokyo from Emery Air Freight, despite Emery’s backing by Alaska’s congressional delegation. Anchorage Daily News

Bottled Water Sales Soar: Sales of bottled drinking water in the United States increased 400% during the 1980s, according to the International Bottled Water Assn. Consumer fears of pollution and dissatisfaction with the taste of tap waters promise continued sales growth of 20% a year, the association predicts. Florida Times-Union

From Nuclear to Gas: After years of costly delays, CMS Energy Corp. decided to switch its 85%-completed Midland, Mich., nuclear plant to natural gas, allowing it to recoup some of the $4.2 billion spent since groundbreaking in 1967. Three years ago, the company began raising $640 million for the conversion; now the plant generates enough electricity for a million people and is selling steam to a chemical plant. CMS Chairman William T. McCormick Jr. says $20 billion has been invested in abandoned nuclear power plants in the United States, all of which could be converted to gas. Toronto Globe and Mail

Future of Fuel Cells: After 32 years of research and testing, Westinghouse is beginning to introduce its fuel cell to electric utilities. The company’s solid oxide fuel cell has already been sold for testing purposes to Japanese natural gas companies. Westinghouse soon will build a developmental manufacturing plant that will work out the production kinks. The new technology, which squeezes oxygen through chemicals and metals to produce electricity and heat, is 60% efficient, compared to 50% for gas turbines. However, producing the fuel cells at high volume and low cost has yet to be proven. The company expects to begin taking commercial orders for the cells in 1992. Pittsburgh Business Times

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