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Fuel Cell Power Plant DFC Applications in California

Tour and overview of the fuel cell power plant at California State University Northridge

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California State University Northridge Installs One Megawatt Fuel Cell Power Plant

FuelCell Energy, Inc., a manufacturer of ultra-clean and efficient electric power generation plants for commercial and industrial customers, and its partner Alliance Power Inc., provided the 1 megawatt (MW) fuel cell power plant to California State University, Northridge (CSUN) for combined heat and power

The application will help the university meet its goals for greater energy independence, capital growth, cost management and increased use of green power.

Video tour of the California State University Fuel Cell Power Plant Produced by Andy Posner.

The high efficiency of Direct FuelCell (DFC) power plants not only results in less fuel needed per unit of power output and lower operating costs, but reduced amounts of carbon dioxide. By generating power without combustion, there are significantly less harmful pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulates.

The power plant will generate base load electricity for the university's facilities and surplus heat for hot water. Uniquely, the university also plans on routing exhaust from the heat exchanger into an adjacent greenhouse and arboretum to enhance photosynthesis, boosting plant growth and harvests by 10 to 40 percent. The carbon dioxide enrichment potential provided by the fuel cell plant may be used for specialized plant research, or as a convention of study within the regular biology academic program -- an opportunity rarely made available to baccalaureate biology students.

Students have provided significant support for clean energy technology initiatives, and the California State University (CSU) has established itself as the nation's leading academic institution taking action to stop global warming.

After two years of lobbying by students, the CSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously for one of the most comprehensive university policies on clean energy in the U.S. Part of the resolution called for all new buildings beginning in 2006/2007 to meet the CSU Sustainability Measurement System certified level which shall be equivalent to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, with regard to the microclimates and physical diversity of the CSU campuses.

California Leads Fuel Cell Technology Development to Meet CARB's 2007 Emissions Requirements

California continues to lead the way in supporting fuel cell technology by providing financial and regulatory support.

FuelCell Energy's DFC products meet the California Air Resources Board (CARB) stringent emissions requirements for 2007. By meeting these standards, DFC power plants are categorized as ultra-clean distributed generation technology which helps streamline the permitting process, and qualifies FuelCell Energy's DFC products for preferential rate treatment by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), such as the elimination of exit fees and stand-by charges for customer electric generation.

Incentive Funding from SoCal Gas and LADWP

Southern California Gas, administrator for the CPUC's Self Generation Program for the Northridge area, issued a reservation letter that will provide incentive funding of up to $2.25 million of eligible project costs and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has committed an additional $500,000 incentive to the CSUN DFC power plant installation.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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