Fuel cell park in Connecticut is on board for 2013

Dec 19, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org)—North America's biggest fuel cell power plant is coming to Connecticut, and construction is to begin immediately. Dominion Resources, an energy company based in Virginia, and FuelCell Energy, a Connecticut manufacturer of fuel cell power plants, have announced the fuel cell project. The facility is to go into operation next year. Dominion Resources has agreed to buy the fuel cell site in the city of Bridgeport, with the first plant installation starting up in the summer of 2013. The remaining plants will be installed in stages. Dominion will oversee the development and owns the facility. FuelCell Energy is to build, operate, and maintain the installations. The power-generating project is to feed the local grid in Bridgeport.

The process involves connecting this fuel cell park to electrical substations in the city. The project is to make use of natural gas as the , transforming the natural gas into electricity. FuelCell Energy's technology uses a proprietary molten carbonate process to reform natural gas into a basic hydrocarbon, followed by an where hydrocarbon energy is converted into electricity. from the process will be used to drive a turbine on the site.

The deal is attracting attention in view of a big utility buying into the potential of fuel cell technology. Dominion Resources is one of the country's biggest energy companies and is backing the planned 14.9-megawatt site which will produce electricity for approximately 15,000 homes. Connecticut Light & Power Company will buy the electricity under a 15-year purchase agreement.

FuelCell Energy, in its announcement of the project, presented reasons why fuel cell parks bring clear advantages.

Multi-megawatt fuel cell parks solve power generation challenges for utilities in urban locations, with lower pollutants, modest land-use needs, and quiet operating nature of the . "Fuel cells generate ultra-clean power and heat electrochemically, without combustion. The power is termed ultra-clean reflecting the dramatically lower quantity of pollutants in the power generation process such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx) and particulate matter, pollutants that cause smog and public health issues."

They also said that generating power near the point of use lessens the need for electric utilities to invest in costly transmission and distribution grids.

Dominion owns renewable energy facilities in the United States, including wind farms in West Virginia and Indiana, a biomass power station in Virginia with three more under construction and hydroelectric power stations in Virginia and North Carolina. The company received permission from Virginia regulators to lease rooftops from commercial and industrial companies to build solar-powered generation as a pilot project. is now part of its portfolio as well.

Explore further: Team improves solar-cell efficiency

More information: dom.mediaroom.com/2012-12-14-D… ect-In-North-America

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User comments : 4

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tscati
1 / 5 (3) Dec 19, 2012
And presumably, as they don't mention it, no CO2 produced at all. That's really ultra-clean!
dschlink
2 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2012
Interesting how all of the 'noise' has been about hydrogen fuel cells, but the first large-scale plants are powered by natural gas. Granted they use a reforming process to generate hydrogen for the power cells.

They claim electric power generation efficiency of 47%, which is better than most gas turbine systems; so their CO2 emissions would be lower per MW-Hr and way lower than coal. They also recycle a portion of the CO2 back to the input as carbonate.
muddy
1 / 5 (1) Dec 19, 2012
@tscati - CO2 is produced in the fuel reforming process, along with a myriad of other byproducts.

@dschlink - the reforming product is described as "a basic hydrocarbon", probably methane and not hydrogen.
Shootist
1 / 5 (3) Dec 19, 2012
And presumably, as they don't mention it, no CO2 produced at all. That's really ultra-clean!


Not true. The system described above catalyzes natural gas, not hydrogen.

And CO2 isn't a poison anyway.