Fuel Cell Power Plants to be Demonstrated

FuelCell Energy, Inc. has announced a modification to the existing Vision 21 program agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to demonstrate two additional sub-megawatt power plants based on the company’s patented Direct FuelCell/Turbine (DFC/T) technology.

Danbury, Connecticut – October 4, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] This modification provides an additional US$16 million to the project’s budget that will be shared by the DOE and FuelCell Energy. FuelCell Energy will build and test the first DFC/T power plant at its facility in Danbury, Connecticut then demonstrate the second DFC/T power plant in Montana. FuelCell Energy will be working with Montana State University who will investigate suitable heat exchangers and an Internet-based load monitoring system as well as with CTA Architects Engineers, who will assist with the site selection and installation of the Montana unit. The extended scope of the work is the result of successful proof-of-concept tests of a DFC/T power plant based on a 250 kW Direct Fuel Cell integrated with a modified Model 330 micro-turbine made by Capstone Turbine Corporation. Under the existing Vision 21 program, FuelCell Energy is developing a systems integration design for a commercial 40 MW DFC/T stationary power plant and continuing proof-of-concept testing of the DFC/T power plant with a 60 kW micro-turbine. This program modification will add the design, development and demonstration of sub-megawatt DFC/T power plants in grid-connected field conditions, assess the efficiency potential of the sub-megawatt plants and provide valuable data on integration and operation of DFC/T power plants under laboratory and field operating conditions. An objective of DOE’s Vision 21 Program is to develop larger, multi-megawatt power plants that would generate electricity with net efficiencies approaching 75 percent (with natural gas), while producing sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions of less than 0.01 lb/million BTU. These goals are improvements over conventional power plants, which are only 35-60 percent efficient and produce emissions of 0.07 to 0.3 lb/million BTU of sulfur and nitrogen oxides. In the company’s DFC/T system, the fuel cell power is augmented by a gas turbine using the byproduct heat of the fuel cell. The supplemental turbine power increases the efficiency and reduces the cost of the generated power without using additional fuel. The combined system does not require any combustion in the turbine.
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