Last week a 400-kilowatt fuel cell arrived in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. This very big black box will become the largest stand-alone clean-energy generator in an apartment complex anywhere in the world.
There was a big welcoming committee of public and private sector movers and shakers right behind this alternative energy project.
The building it will power is to be a new block-long downtown grocery store – about 1200 square feet – a for-profit ‘hybrid’ market selling both natural foods and mainstream products, the Elm City Food Co-op? Developer Bruce Becker said
“I doubt any fuel cell on this planet has been so eagerly awaited. This is the world’s largest fuel cell in any residential building. We’re making history today..
Only by changing … the way we build, the way we generate power can we start to live more sustainably as a society.”
Becker’s firm is spending close to $4 million to buy and install the fuel cell, which takes in natural gas, removes hydrogen, then strips electrons from the hydrogen atoms to create electricity.
It will provide ‘nearly’ 100 percent of the electricity for the complex’s 500 apartments and its stores and common areas. It will heat the building’s water, including in the swimming pool. UTC Power manufactured the fuel cell. Points to note:
1. The fuel cell doesn’t burn fossil fuels which pollute and make the countries dependent on foreign governments or offshore drilling.
2. It’s far cheaper than conventional energy sources, and not reliant on wind or sun, like other alternative sources.
3. It’s located on-site, unconnected to a grid; energy grids could increasingly become targets of terrorists or foreign governments engaged in cyberwarfare (such as may have occurred already in Estonia).
4. The amount of energy saved each year by 360 State’s fuel cell is predicted to be equal to planting of 178 acres of trees and taking 100 cars off the road.
The Clean Energy Fund, which supports alternative-energy projects, paid half the cost of this fuel cell.
It has also helped install 13 other fuel cells to buildings in the state, including New Haven’s Peabody Museum and Water Pollution Control Authority.
The city plans to power the new Hill Central School building with one too.
Do WE have any public-private partnerships with this sort of ‘grunt’?