FuelCell Energy: Ultra-Clean Hybrid Power Plant's Operation
FuelCell Energy, Inc., a leading manufacturer of high efficiency ultra-clean power plants using renewable and other fuels for commercial, industrial, government and utility customers, reported its hybrid power plant attained an average electrical efficiency of 62.5 percent, equipment up-time of 93 percent and reduced greenhouse gas emissions of up to 45 percent.
In its first full year of operation, the Direct FuelCell-Energy Recovery Generation(TM) (DFC-ERG(R)) power plant, a joint project with Enbridge Inc., achieved results underscoring its success over a range of scenarios. Since January 2009, Enbridge monitored the DFC-ERG plant under several configurations -- matching operating modes for different markets -- to measure its emissions and electrical efficiency (that is, the percentage of fuel converted to useful grid power).
While the DFC-ERG unit demonstrated an availability averaging 93 percent for the entire year, it exceeded 96 percent availability during the final six months of 2009. Similarly, although its average electrical efficiency of 62.5 percent compares favorably to a typical conventional fossil fuel generation of about 35 to 40 percent, the plant's peak electrical efficiency topped 70 percent in some of the scenarios under which it was evaluated. In all of those tests, the benchmark for air quality used was California's toughest-in-the-nation clean air standards.
The system's high electrical efficiency allowed it to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 45 percent compared to a conventional natural gas power plant (based on Environment Canada's "National Inventory Report -- Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada 1990--2007").
"All the time we were operating this plant and getting remarkable electrical efficiencies, we were seeing availability numbers in the 90s," said Chuck Szmurlo, Vice President, Alternative and Emerging Technologies, Enbridge. "That tells me this is a commercially robust technology. We will submit our results to be independently verified and, when the review is complete, we'll disclose our data to the industry."
Although Toronto represents the initial DFC-ERG installation, FuelCell Energy and Enbridge are advancing the necessary commitments for others totaling 18 MW, which were selected by the Connecticut Clean Energy fund as part of that state's renewable energy portfolio. Gas utilities in other U.S. states also are evaluating the technology. International interest stems from the Toronto project's evaluation by the Asia Pacific Partnership (APP), a clean energy cooperative involving Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
"Enbridge's validation of the DFC-ERG system is a significant milestone, especially since the market potential is worldwide," said R. Daniel Brdar, CEO and Chairman of FuelCell Energy. "It gives gas utilities a way of improving pipeline efficiency, reducing emissions and delivering clean energy to the world's power grid as a byproduct of their daily operations."
DFC-ERG plant harvests waste energy while reducing pollution
Natural gas is transported via pipelines for use throughout North America. Over most of this route, gas is maintained under high pressure. As the gas enters urban centers, its pressure is purposely reduced at "letdown" stations so it may be safely distributed to homes and businesses.
Normally, the pressure-reduction process involves heating the gas -- a step which itself burns some gas, wasting energy and sending pollutants into the air. Integrating a DFC-ERG unit with a letdown station reduces or eliminates this local source of emissions while harvesting energy from the moving gas for clean power. The fuel cell, a non-combustion means of generating ultra-clean energy, also provides additional electricity while using the high quality, zero emission heat to reduce the pollutants normally linked to preheating the natural gas.
The DFC-ERG power plant in Toronto generates ultra-clean electricity while harvesting energy normally lost during natural gas pipeline distribution operations. A joint development effort of FuelCell Energy and Enbridge, the system produces 2.2 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power approximately 1,700 homes.
Funding for the project includes $2.3 million from Natural Resources Canada and a $500,000 grant from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. NYSEARCH, the research arm of the Northeast Gas Association, also provided funding for the project's performance monitoring so US-based gas utilities can better understand how the technology might be adapted for their pipeline networks. Support was provided by the City of Toronto, which enacted a measure allowing residents and businesses to export clean electricity to the grid.
The technology is marketed as the DFC-ERG system in the United States and as Hybrid FuelCells in Canada. More information about the technology is available from FuelCell Energy. Fuel cells are a key technology that supports a portfolio of low-carbon energy supplies that can be viewed on the Enbridge Web site. An independently produced video about the Toronto power plant is available at The Discovery Channel, which is responsible for its own content.
About FuelCell Energy
FuelCell Energy is the world leader in the development and production of stationary fuel cells for commercial, industrial, municipal and utility customers. FuelCell Energy's ultra-clean and high efficiency DFC(R) fuel cells are generating power at more than 50 locations worldwide. The company's power plants have generated over 450 million kilowatt hours of power using a variety of fuels including renewable wastewater gas, biogas from beer and food processing, as well as natural gas and other hydrocarbon fuels. FuelCell Energy has partnerships with major power plant developers and power companies around the world. The company also receives funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and other government agencies for the development of leading edge technologies such as fuel cells. For more information please visit our website at www.fuelcellenergy.com.
About Enbridge Inc.
Enbridge Inc., a Canadian company, is a North American leader in delivering energy. As a transporter of energy, Enbridge operates through its wholly owned subsidiaries, in Canada and the U.S., the world's longest crude oil and liquids transportation system. The Company also has a growing involvement in the natural gas transmission and midstream businesses, and is expanding its interests in renewable and green energy technologies, including wind and solar energy, hybrid fuel cells and carbon dioxide sequestration. As a distributor of energy, Enbridge owns Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc., Canada's largest natural gas distribution company and provides distribution services to about 1.9 million customers in Ontario, New York State, New Brunswick and southwestern Quebec. A Top 100 Canadian Employer for 2010, Enbridge employs approximately 6,000 people, primarily in Canada and the U.S. Enbridge's common shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol ENB. For more information, visit enbridge.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding FuelCell Energy's and Enbridge's plans and expectations regarding the continuing development and commercialization of fuel cell technology and financing of related business plans. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that could cause such a difference include, without limitation, general risks associated with product development, manufacturing, changes in the regulatory environment, customer strategies, potential volatility of energy prices, rapid technological change, competition, and FuelCell Energy's and Enbridge's respective ability to achieve its sales plans and cost reduction targets, as well as other risks set forth in FuelCell Energy's and Enbridge's respective filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Canadian securities regulators, as applicable. The forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date of this press release. Both FuelCell Energy and Enbridge expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statement to reflect any change in their expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
FuelCell Energy, Inc.