IKEA to use fuel cell/solar combo at Connecticut store

IKEA, a home furnishings retailer, on Aug. 23 announced plans to further its renewable commitment with plans for its first biogas-powered fuel cell system on the East Coast, at its store in New Haven, Conn.

More than a year ago, IKEA completed installation of such a project at IKEA Emeryville, one of the Swedish company’s two San Francisco-area stores. And, earlier this summer, IKEA announced plans for similar projects at four additional California stores. Pending permits, the New Haven fuel cell system will be installed, commissioned and operational by this fall, bringing the IKEA fuel cell portfolio to more than 1.5 MW.

“We are excited about furthering our sustainability commitment with fuel cells at IKEA New Haven,” said Christof Stein, store manager. “Similar to our rooftop solar array, this fuel cell system will greatly reduce our carbon footprint and the store’s reliance on the power grid as well as contribute to our vision of creating a better everyday life for the many.”

Slightly larger than the physical size of a commercial back-up generator, the 250-kW, biogas-powered project will produce approximately 2,081,376 kWh of electricity annually for the store. Combined with the 940.8-kW solar array installed atop the store in 2012, the fuel cell project will help generate a majority of the store’s energy onsite.

For the design, development and installation of this fuel cell system, IKEA contracted with Sunnyvale-based Bloom Energy, a provider of breakthrough solid oxide fuel cell technology generating clean, highly-efficient on-site power.

IKEA U.S. has installed electric vehicle charging stations at 14 stores and solar arrays at 90% of its locations, integrated two geothermal projects at two store locations and owns two wind farms. This investment in fuel cell technology reflects the company’s goal to be energy independent by 2020.

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.