U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Fuel Cell Technologies Office – Technology Validation

Non-DOE Projects

In addition to the stationary/distributed generation technology validation projects sponsored by DOE, universities, along with state and local government entities across the U.S., are partnering with industry to demonstrate stationary fuel cells in real-world applications.

South Windsor Fuel Cell Project

The Town of South Windsor, Connecticut, initiated a stationary fuel cell demonstration project in October 2002. South Windsor, with funding from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, installed a natural-gas-powered 200-kilowatt PC25 fuel cell system, developed by UTC Fuel Cells, at South Windsor High School. The system will provide heat and electricity to the high school as well as learning opportunities for students. The school has developed an extensive fuel cell curriculum for students, and computer monitors will allow students to track the operation of the fuel cell. South Windsor High School has also been designated as a regional emergency shelter, and the fuel cell system will be able to provide power in the event of an electric power outage. UTC Fuel Cells intends to utilize the project as an international demonstration site for fuel cell technology.

Fuel Cells Provide Electricity and Heat to the U.S. Postal Service's Anchorage Mail Handling Facility

In 2000, Chugach Electric Association installed a 1-Megawatt fuel cell system at the U.S. Postal Service's Anchorage Mail Handling Facility. The system consists of five natural-gas-powered 200-kilowatt PC25 fuel cells developed by UTC Fuel Cells—the only commercially available fuel cell in the world. The fuel cell station provides primary power for the facility as well as half of the hot water needed for heating. Excess electricity from the system flows back to the grid for use by other customers. The fuel cell system emits much less carbon into the air than a combustion-based power plant—less than 1% of the amount typically produced from generating the same amount of power. However, the system is quite expensive, costing about seven times as much per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced than energy from a new natural gas fired turbine system.

Department of Defense (DOD) Fuel Cell Demonstration Program

The DOD Fuel Cell Demonstration Program, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was begun in the mid '90s to advance the use of PAFCs at DOD installations. Under the program, stationary fuel cells were installed at 30 sites that represent a broad spectrum of facilities and locations throughout the major Armed Services. The fuel cells are used for providing primary electrical power, back-up electrical power, and heat. In January 2002, DOD began a residential fuel cell demonstration program that will focus on polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells ranging in size from 1 to 20 kilowatts. The demonstration will include twenty-one PEM fuel cells at nine U.S. military bases.