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Introduction 

Fuel cells offer a highly efficient and fuel-flexible technology that cleanly produces power and heat with low or zero emissions. Using renewably produced fuels such as hydrogen fuel cells can reduce our nation’s dependence on imported oil, leading to a secure energy future for America. With a multitude of end-uses—such as distributed power for backup, primary, and combined heat-and-power systems; automobiles, buses, forklifts and other specialty vehicles; and auxiliary power units and portable electronics—fuel cell applications hold potential to dramatically impact the 21st century clean energy economy.

Fuel cells and hydrogen, in particular, will play a vital role in diversifying America’s clean energy supply. Fuel cells efficiently produce electricity from a number of domestic fuels, including bio-gas, natural gas, propane, methanol, diesel, and hydrogen. Compared with traditional energy inputs, fuel cells can provide improved performance and reliability in addition to reduced lifecycle costs.

 

 

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Hydrogen Storage

Hydrogen Production

Hydrogen Distribution and Delivery Infrastructure

Hydrogen Safety

Progress and Accomplishments in Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

 


 

Technology  


 Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells, also called proton exchange membrane fuel cells, use a polymer membrane as the electrolyte. These cells operate at relatively low temperatures and can quickly vary their output to meet shifting power demands. PEM fuel cells are the best candidates for powering automobiles. They can also be used for stationary power production.                                                  


Direct-Methanol Fuel Cells

The direct-methanol fuel cell (DMFC) is similar to the PEM cell in that it uses a polymer membrane as an electrolyte. However, DMFCs use methanol directly on the anode, which eliminates the need for a fuel reformer. DMFCs are of interest for powering portable electronic devices, such as laptop computers and battery rechargers.


Alkaline Fuel Cells

Alkaline fuel cells use an alkaline electrolyte such as potassium hydroxide or an alkaline membrane. Originally used by NASA on space missions, alkaline fuel cells are now finding new applications, such as in portable power.


Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells

Phosphoric acid fuel cells use a phosphoric acid electrolyte held inside a porous matrix, and operate at about 200°C. They are typically used in modules of 400 kW or greater and are being used for stationary power production in hotels, hospitals, grocery stores, and office buildings, where waste heat can also be used. Phosphoric acid can also be immobilized in polymer membranes, and fuel cells using these membranes are of interest for a variety of stationary power applications.


Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells

Molten carbonate fuel cells use a molten carbonate salt immobilized in a porous matrix as their electrolyte. They are already being used in a variety of medium-to-large-scale stationary applications, where their high efficiency produces net energy savings. Their high-temperature operation (approximately 600°C) enables them to internally reform fuels such as natural gas and biogas.


Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Solid oxide fuel cells use a thin layer of ceramic as a solid electrolyte. They are being developed for use in a variety of stationary power applications, as well as in auxiliary power devices for heavy-duty trucks. Operating at 700 – 1000°C with zirconia-based electrolytes, and as low as 500°C with ceria-based electrolytes, these fuel cells can internally reform natural gas and biogas, and can be combined with a gas turbine to produce electrical efficiencies as high as 75%.                          


Combined Heat and Power

In addition to electricity, fuel cells produce heat. This heat can be used to fulfill heating needs, including hot water and space heating. Combined heat and power fuel cells are of interest for powering houses and buildings, where total efficiency as high as 90% is achievable. This high efficiency operation saves money, saves energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.


Regenerative or Reversible Fuel Cells

This special class of fuel cells produces electricity from hydrogen and oxygen, but can be reversed and powered with electricity to produce hydrogen and oxygen. This emerging technology could provide storage of excess energy produced by intermittent renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power stations, releasing this energy during times of low power production.

 


Target Applications


Stationary

Fuel cells can be deployed as  Combined Heat & Power (CHP) technology that provides both power and thermal energy, and can nearly double energy efficiency at a customer site, typically from 35 to 40 percent. Buidling types with high electricity consumption that would make acceptable applications for on-site stationary generation include education, inpatient healthcare, food sales, food services, lodging, public assembly, and uninterruptable power sources.

                           

 

                               

 

Portable

One of the biggest drivers in today's consumer market is information technology operating through laptops, smart phones, MP3 players, compact video games, etc.  The common element in all these technologies is their portability which demand a lightweigh power source.  Currently, batteries are the power source of choice, however increasing device demands in both power output and operating time cannot be met by battery technology.  Fuel cells can be hand-held size, portable (transported by one person) or transported easily between location.  Portable application types that can be best satified by fuel cell technologies include back-up power, specialty vehicles, auxilary power, and electronic devices.

 

                                                

                                                                          

                                                  

 

Transportation

Transportation is responsible for one-fourth of the total global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission and consumes 75 percent of the world's oil production.  The current economy in the U.S. is dependent on hydrocarbon energy sources and any disruption or shortage of this energy supply will severely affect many energy related activities, including transportation.  Hydrogen-fueled fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) have many advantages over conventional technology.  FCEVs can reduce price volatility, dependence on oil, improve environmental performance, and provide greater efficiencies than conventional transportation technologies.   Transportation applications include buses, automobiles, and fueling stations.

                         

 

                                 

 

                                 

 

 

 


 

 

Partial List of Fuel Cell Deployment in the Northeast Region

 

Manufacturer

Site Name

Site Location

Year Installed

Application 

Plug Power

T-Mobile cell tower

Storrs

    CT

2008

Back-up

Plug Power

Albany International Airport

Albany

    NY

2004

Back-up

FuelCell Energy

Pepperidge Farms Plant

Bloomfield

    CT

2005

CHP

FuelCell Energy

Peabody Museum

New Haven

    CT

2003

CHP

FuelCell Energy

Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers

Manhattan 

    NY

2004

CHP

FuelCell Energy

Sheraton Hotel

Edison

    NJ

2003

CHP

FuelCell Energy

Sheraton Hotel

Parsippany

    NJ

2003

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Cabela's Sporting Goods

East Hartford

    CT

2008

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Whole Foods Market

Glastonbury

    CT

2008

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Connecticut Science Center

Hartford

    CT

2009

CHP

ClearEdge Power

St. Francis Hospital

Hartford

    CT

2003

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Middletown High School

Middletown

    CT

2008

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Connecticut Juvenile Training School

Middletown

    CT

2001

CHP

ClearEdge Power

360 State Street Apartment Building

New Haven

    CT

2010

CHP

ClearEdge Power

South Windsor High School

South Windsor

    CT

2002

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Mohegan Sun Casino Hotel

Uncasville

    CT

2002

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Whole Foods Market

Dedham

    MA

2009

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Bronx Zoo

Bronx

    NY

2008

CHP

ClearEdge Power

North Central Bronx Hospital

Bronx 

    NY

2000

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Hunt's Point Water Pollution Control Plant

Bronx

    NY

2005

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Price Chopper Supermarket

Colonie

    NY

2010

CHP

ClearEdge Power

East Rochester High School

East Rochester

    NY

2007

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Coca-Cola Refreshments Production Facility

Elmsford

    NY

2010

CHP

ClearEdge Power 

Verizon Call Center and Communications Building

Garden City

    NY

2005

CHP

ClearEdge Power

State Office Building

Hauppauge

    NY

2009

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Liverpool High School

Liverpool

    NY

2000

CHP

ClearEdge Power

New York Hilton Hotel

New York City

    NY

2007

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Central Park Police Station

New York City

    NY

1999

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester

    NY

1993

CHP

ClearEdge Power

NYPA office building

White Plains

    NY

2010

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Wastewater treatment plant

Yonkers

    NY

1997

CHP

ClearEdge Power

The Octagon

Roosevelt Island

    NY

2011

CHP

ClearEdge Power

Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters

New Brunswick

    NJ

2003

CHP

ClearEdge Power

CTTRANSIT (Fuel Cell Powered Buses)

Hartford

    CT

2007 - Present

Tansportation

 

 


 



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