FuelCell Energy to provide 5.6-MW project to Pfizer in Connecticut

FuelCell Energy (Nasdaq: FCEL) said Jan. 4 that it plans to install a 5.6-MW fuel cell power generation system for Pfizer Inc., one of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies, to provide reliable and low carbon electricity and steam for its 160-acre research and development facility in Groton, Connecticut.

Pfizer will purchase the power and steam under a 20-year power purchase agreement that will lead to a reduction in energy costs while enhancing power reliability from on-site power generation.  The combined heat and power (CHP) fuel cell system will be configured to operate continuously, in parallel with the grid during normal operation and independently supplying electricity to campus loads during grid outages, while supporting Pfizer’s commitment to sustainability with power generation that is low carbon and efficient. The fuel cell installation is expected to be fully operational by summer 2016. 

“This power purchase model delivers immediate value while increasing electrical reliability by providing the security of on-site power with a financial structure that avoids an investment in power generation assets, and FuelCell Energy installs, operates and maintains the fuel cell power plants,” said Chip Bottone, President and Chief Executive Officer, FuelCell Energy. “Affordably addressing both energy and sustainability goals is an attractive value proposition offered by FCE.”

The fuel cell system will include two DFC3000 fuel cell power plants, each rated at 2.8 MW, that will operate in tandem to generate 5.6 MW of clean power and steam. The fuel cells will operate parallel with the electric grid and, in the event of a grid disturbance, continue to provide power to Pfizer’s Groton facility by switching to what is termed an ‘island’ mode that is grid independent.

The CHP-configured fuel cell plants produce clean power and heat via an electrochemical process that avoids combustion and its associated pollutants, including NOx that causes smog, SO2 that contributes to acid rain, and particulate matter that can aggravate asthma.

Fuel cells electrochemically convert a fuel source into electricity and heat in a highly efficient process that emits virtually no pollutants due to the absence of combustion. The Direct FuelCell (DFC) stationary fuel cell power plants manufactured by FuelCell Energy utilize carbonate fuel cell technology and provide continuous power located where the power is used, including both on-site applications and electric grid support.  The power plants are fuel flexible, capable of operating on clean natural gas, on-site renewable biogas, or directed biogas. 

Direct FuelCell power plants are generating ultra-clean, efficient and reliable power at more than 50 locations worldwide. With more than 300 MW of power generation capacity installed or in backlog, FuelCell Energy said it is a global leader in providing ultra-clean baseload distributed generation to utilities, industrial operations, universities, municipal water treatment facilities, government installations and other customers around the world.

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.