Beacon Falls pursues 63-MW fuel cell project in Connecticut

Beacon Falls Energy Park LLC on Aug. 31 requested that the Connecticut Siting Council issue a declaratory ruling for the location, construction, operation and maintenance of a 63.3-MW fuel cell project and associated ground equipment, an ancillary building and a 115-kV interconnection located on about eight acres of a former sand and gravel mine along Lopus Road in Beacon Falls, Connecticut.

BFEP is a wholly owned subsidiary of O&G Industries Inc. BFEP will lead the project development and said it has engaged skilled and competent contractors to develop the project.

BFEP has proposed to construct the Beacon Falls Energy Park, a nominal 63.3-MW baseload fuel cell project in Beacon Falls. The project consists of:

  • Five FCE HEFC fuel cell plants, each rated at approximately 3.7 MW;
  • Sixteen FCE DFC3000 fuel cell plants, each rated at approximately 2.8 MW;
  • Switchyard facilities; and
  • A metering facility

O&G Industries, based in Torrington, Connecticut, will be the Engineer Procure Construct (EPC) contractor for the project. O&G is a large and experienced EPC contractor and has built and completed energy generating facilities. In addition, O&G owns the property upon which the project will be located.

FuelCell Energy Inc. (FCE) based in Danbury and Torrington, Connecticut, will manufacture, supply, construct and operate the fuel cells. FCE has developed utility grade power plant turnkey projects in the United States, including a 2.8-MW (ac) fuel cell Facility on Seaside Landfill in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and a 14.9-MW fuel cell park in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Connecticut Energy and Technology LLC (CT E&T) is a Middletown, Connecticut-based developer of renewable energy projects which originally developed the idea of the project for Beacon Falls.

The property is located in close proximity to natural gas and water supplies necessary for fuel cell operation and Fuel Cell Energy has its manufacturing facility in Torrington, Connecticut, which provides for ease of delivery of major equipment to the project.

O&G and CT E&T reviewed the use of the property for other renewables such as solar and wind. They determined that the property was too small to generate a significant amount of renewable energy using solar technology. It would require more than 300 acres of land to achieve the 63.3 MW of power the proposed fuel cell project will generate on eight acres. They rejected wind due to the lack of available wind at the site and the high visibility of the wind turbines.

Each of the 21 fuel cells is to be equipped with a 10 million British thermal units per hour (MMBtu/hr) air heater, which operates to maintain the associated fuel cell’s operating temperature only when the fuel cell is not operating at full power. The fuel cells and air heaters require natural gas for fuel, treated water for fuel processing and nitrogen for inerting systems during shutdown. Power produced by the fuel cells will be inverted from DC to 13.8 kV AC and will be exported to the electrical grid through a 115-kV switchyard.

The project would use natural gas exclusively as fuel. Natural gas from the local utility will enter the site at 40 psi. The natural gas then reaches a regulating station, where two regulators will work together to maintain a downstream pressure of 20-25 psi. After the incoming “gas train,” the natural gas is distributed to one of the four identical natural gas desulfurization systems. Each natural gas desulfurization system consists of two desulfurizer vessels and a network of various valves and piping. These vessels are filled with two types of media, intended to remove the sulfur that is inherent in a pipeline quality natural gas supply. Downstream of the after-filter, the natural gas is then distributed to each of the five or six fuel cells served by the gas desulfurization system.

A project contact is: William J. Corvo, Manager, Beacon Falls Energy Park LLC, 769 Newfield Street, Middletown, CT 06457, 860.346.6500, biagio6539@aol.com.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.