Benefits of fuel cells for renewable energy over wind and solar power

The San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant, the largest advanced wastewater-treatment facility in the Western U.S., will soon be home to a 1.4-megawatt DFC1500 power plant, designed by FuelCell Energy, Inc.

The San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant, the largest advanced wastewater-treatment facility in the Western U.S., will soon be home to a 1.4-megawatt DFC1500 power plant, designed by FuelCell Energy, Inc.


FuelCell Energy is a leader in manufacturing ultra-clean, high-efficiency power plants by utilizing renewable and other fuels. UTS Bioenergy LLC will purchase the DFC1500 unit, in which power generated, will be sold to the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

FuelCell Energy will be responsible for servicing the power plant under a long-term service agreement. The unit is due to begin operating at the start of 2012.

"The Environmental Protection Agency recently acknowledged our Plant as one of the nation's top facilities for producing and using renewable energy on-site -- about two-thirds of the energy used by our 11 megawatt facility comes from methane derived from digester and landfill processes.

We want to operate as much as possible on clean, sustainably-produced electricity, and adding this fuel cell generated power to our energy portfolio will help us do that," stated Dale Ihrke, Plant Manager.

"We're also getting the fuel cell generated power at a reasonable, known price over the 20-year term, helping to remove uncertainty in future power costs.

And because fuel cells produce clean energy with minimal air permit requirements, we've significantly reduced regulatory uncertainty compared to other power generation options."

Why fuel cells for renewable energy?
Fuels cells are renewable when operating on biogas like the methane generated by the wastewater treatment process.

DFC fuel cells are different than wind and solar in that they supply baseload power around the clock, which is particularly useful to a wastewater treatment plant, and minimizes reliance on the transmission grid.

Fuel cells have the capacity to achieve up to 90 percent efficiency when byproduct heat from the fuel cell electrical generation process is used. The result is lower energy costs and higher electricity per unit of fuel. The byproduct hear will be used in the wastewater treatment process from this fuel cell installation.

"Fuel cells offer reliable baseload power and their ability to operate on renewable biogas offers real value to wastewater treatment plants," stated Arun Sharma, Vice President Business Development, UTS BioEnergy LLC.

"Our customer had demanding requirements to obtain clean and reliable power at competitive costs. DFC power plants are the solution for meeting challenging power generation requirements."

"Wastewater treatment plants represent an excellent application of our clean, efficient and dependable fuel cell power plants," commented Chip Bottone, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, FuelCell Energy, Inc.

Featured Product

WS510 Secondary Standard

WS510 Secondary Standard

In the monitoring of large photovoltaic (Utility Scale), in assessing potential sites (Solar-assessment), or in up and coming electricity cost saving initiatives projects (Commercial & Industrial), the WS510 now provides the market a secondary standard pyranometer, ultrasonic wind speed, ultrasonic wind direction, temperature, pressure and humidity all in a single unit.. This sensor meets the high demands of the world meteorological organization (WMO) through the active valving at air temperature measurement and the inertia- and maintenance-free measurement of wind speed and wind direction on the ultrasonic principle. Equipped with a Kipp & Zonen pyranometer of the secondary standards, the WS510-UMB Compact weather sensor from Lufft unites the precision of a variety of meteorological individual sensors in a single all-in-one device, for the first time.