Fuel Cell Power Plant Under Way at the L.A. Zoo

The new Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Zoo Fuel Cell Power Plant, recently dedicated at the Los Angeles Zoo produces 200 kilowatts (kW) of highly efficient and clean hydrogen-fueled electricity — enough to power 250 homes — and marks the fourth fuel cell in LADWP’s award-winning Fuel Cell Demonstration Program.

Fuel cells and other types of distributed generation (DG) help to relieve the daily strain on the system and to maintain the quality of power when the grid is loaded down. Thus, along with demand side energy and energy efficiency programs, they are a key part of LADWP’s long-term plans to meet the City’s energy needs, helping to achieve 20 percent of retail energy sales through renewable energy by 2010, said David Nahai, vice president of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. “By generating power near the load, DG also helps save money by reducing pressure on our infrastructure while providing for increased reliability,” said LADWP General Manager Ron Deaton. The LADWP Zoo Fuel Cell was manufactured by United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn. The initial purchase and installation cost approximately $1.4 million. The relocation and re-commissioning of the fuel cell at the Los Angeles Zoo cost approximately $600,000. Designed to attract the public, the plant also teaches how fuel cell power is cleaner than the average U.S. fossil fuel power plant. Based on annual usage, each 200 kW fuel cell power plant reduces the following levels of pollutants by 900,000 pounds of carbon dioxide; 8,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide; and 18,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide. Preventing this amount of pollution is the same as eliminating 100 cars from the road; and, planting 120 acres of trees.

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