Fuel Cell Power Plant for Los Angeles

Mayor Jim Hahn and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) officials have unveiled a fuel cell power plant – forging the way for a new generation of ultra-clean energy production in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, California – March 17, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The John Ferraro Building (JFB) Fuel Cell Power Plant, manufactured by Danbury, Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy Inc. and located at the LADWP’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, provides 250 kW of environmentally clean electricity, enough power to serve about 250 households. The plant, which sends electricity to the city’s power grid, uses up to 50 percent less fuel per kWh than the average conventional power plant and produces nearly zero emissions of pollutants. The JFB Fuel Cell Power Plant is the latest in a series of LADWP programs designed to address air quality in Los Angeles. “Today’s unveiling illustrates a new generation of clean energy production,” said Hahn. “This advanced hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology exemplifies the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s commitment to reducing dependence on fossil fuels. LADWP continues to set the standard for excellence in public power.” The Direct FuelCell features a unique technology that enables it to create its own hydrogen within the fuel cell module, capturing the benefits of a “hydrogen-powered economy while utilizing the current natural gas-based delivery system,” said Jerry Leitman, president and CEO of FuelCell Energy. “This Direct FuelCell power plant clearly demonstrates that the citizens of Los Angeles and indeed the whole country can enjoy the benefits of clean hydrogen fuel cells – today,” said Leitman. “Stationary fuel cell power plants are ready to make a real and positive impact by providing clean and efficient electric power using the well-established fuel infrastructure here in the U.S. and throughout the world.” The hydrogen-power fuel cell, called a Direct FuelCell 300A, is significantly cleaner than the average U.S. fossil fuel power plant. Based on annual usage, each 250 kW fuel cell power plant displaces the following levels of pollutants: 1.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide; 11,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide; and, 25,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide. In addition, the hydrogen fuel cell power plant has the potential to produce renewable power since it can operate on a variety of fuels, including renewable fuels such as anaerobic gas from municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants and other biomass fuels. The Department has broken ground on a second 250 kW Direct FuelCell Power Plant at Terminal Island in San Pedro. The Terminal Island Fuel Cell Power Plant will supply renewable power by utilizing digester gas from a nearby wastewater treatment plant. The project is a partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Public Works/Bureau of Sanitation. The JFB Fuel Cell Power Plant, which costs approximately US$3 million (including trial phases of the fuel cell power plant), is largely funded through the Department’s Public Benefits Program, which supports Green LA Programs, including Cool Schools, Solar Energy, Electric Vehicles, Trees for a Green LA, and other energy efficiency programs. In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense, with administrative support from the U.S. Department of Energy, provided US$250,000 in grant funding. “Today’s dedication marks a significant step in the evolution of this clean, state-of-the-art fuel cell technology from demonstration projects to commercially viable, utility-scale electric generation,” said LADWP General Manager David H. Wiggs. “For LADWP and Los Angeles, this fuel cell power plant is an important addition to our power generation portfolio as we move forward with an aggressive program of stamping out pollution and promoting energy efficiency.” Based on the pre-commercial field trials, FuelCell Energy gained valuable information for designing its enhanced fuel cell power plant, the DFC300A. As part of the field trial program, FuelCell Energy delivered a DFC300A, which went online Feb. 10. LADWP will take over ownership and operation of the plant in mid-March, following completion of FuelCell Energy’s contract. The Department also operates a commercial 200-kilowatt fuel cell plant, manufactured by United Technologies Corporation, which began operation in January 2002 at LADWP’s Main Street facility.
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