Fuel cells power systems on the rise

s-hodgson

Financial services provider Morgan Stanley opened a 250 kWe fuel cell on-site power system at its headquarters building in Purchase, New York last month. The solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) device from Bloom Energy is supplying both baseload power and a grid-independent supply to parts of the building’s critical loads.

So have stationary fuel cells gone mainstream in the US? Not yet, says the US Department of Energy’s 2013 Fuel Cell Technologies Market Report, also published last month. This suggests that the fuel industry is growing – world-wide sales passed $1 billion for the first time in 2013 and 150 MW of stationary fuel cells were shipped during the year, a quarter more than during 2012 and five times as much as during 2008. The report also points to some very large recent installations: a 15 MWe fuel cell power park opened in Bridgeport, Connecticut; and the start of a 59 MWe fuel cell power plant in Korea.
 

It also suggested that several early adopters of fuel cell technology are coming back for additional units – communications company Verizon, which first got involved with fuel cells in the early 2000s is now investing $100 million in a further 9 MWe of generating capacity for data centres and office buildings. The First National Bank of Omaha has upgraded to a new fuel cell system to safeguard its credit card processing operations and data centre in Nebraska. The need for security of supply is a clear driver in both cases.

Yet the technology support programmes of three states mean that they – California, Connecticut and New York – continue to dominate adoption of the technology in the US, with New Jersey now coming up alongside. The Morgan Stanley system described above was supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

One way forward could be the energy services company (ESCo) approach, as pioneered some years ago by the packaged CHP industry, under which customers buy power as a service, rather than owing the generating equipment. Bloom is already doing this, with ESCo Elexon Corporation providing finance for 21 MW of fuel cell projects planned at 75 commercial properties across – California, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, initially.

The clean energy attributes of fuel cells, which are electrochemical devices rather than relying on combustion of fuel and produce almost nothing in the way of pollutants, will surely see them widely used eventually. For the moment, state support programmes continue to close the funding gap.

Latest Wire News

XsunX, Inc. Launches Affiliate Sales Program

28/06/2016 XsunX, Inc. Launches Affiliate Sales Program

Global Project Restarts Surpass $65 Billion for Second-Quarter 2016, an Industrial Info News Alert

20/06/2016 Global Project Restarts Surpass $65 Billion for Second-Quarter 2016, an Industrial Info News Alert

PowerVerde, Inc., Enters Into Broad Licensing Agreement Focusing on Waste Heat-to-Power Solutions Using Organic Rankine Cycle and Advanced Steam Technology

20/06/2016 PowerVerde, Inc., Enters Into Broad Licensing Agreement Focusing on Waste Heat-to-Power Solutions Using Organic Rankine Cy...

Article Archives for Decentralized Energy - Formally known as Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine

Current Issue

05/01/2016
Volume 17, Issue 3

industry-opinion-hdr

A forward-looking celebration

30/06/2016

COGEN Flanders’ fifteenth anniversary meeting was marked by a wide ...

Change across both sides of the meter

28/06/2016

The North American electricity system is changing, on both the generatio...

Energy access: It's the policy, stupid

14/06/2016

Policy, not finance, is the biggest obstacle to scaling decentralized re...

The inexorable path towards distributed solar

14/06/2016

Can anyone still deny the strength and pace of change within the world’s...

On-site generators on both sides of the pond

20/05/2016

Decentralized Energy readers may be familiar with the excellent data pro...

Planning for winds of change in offshore renewables

13/05/2016

In the last five years, the UK’s offshore wind industry has built enough...

E.ON moves away from ‘conventional’ power

10/05/2016

‘Our objective is to make E.ON into a leading company of the distributed...

Latest Digital Edition

 Decentralized Energy, formally known as Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production
Cover
Current Issue
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn  Email Us
/** * jQuery.marquee - scrolling text like old marquee element * @author Aamir Afridi - aamirafridi(at)gmail(dot)com / http://aamirafridi.com/jquery/jquery-marquee-plugin */