A high-temperature, carbonate fuel cell soon will soon be generating 250 kW of electricity, as well as providing residual heat for hot water and heating, on campus at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF). A special dedication ceremony took place in February to mark the fuel cell's pending operation.
The fuel cell, designed for large-scale industrial and commercial applications by FuelCell Energy (Danbury, Connecticut, U.S.), is expected to reduce oil use by 3500 barrels a year. Angelo Esposito, New York Power Authority (NYPA) vice president Energy Services and Technologies, noted that the fuel cell will help SUNY ESF meet the requirements of the New York governor's 2001 executive order that state facilities purchase 20% of their power from renewables by 2010.
SUNY ESF's fuel cell will supply 17% of the electricity used on campus, according to College President Cornelius Murphy Jr. The school's next step will be “to acquire a gasifier that can convert wood residues and biomass into a synthetic gas to drive the fuel cell instead of the natural gas we are using to start up the system,” Murphy says.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided a US$1 million grant for the fuel cell. The project is also receiving a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Climate Change Fuel Cell Program and a $100,000 grant from EPRI.