Universities / Healthcare

Ultra-clean, reliable fuel cell power plants help education and healthcare institutions achieve their energy and sustainability objectives

Universities and health care complexes require reliable power and generally value power that is generated in a sustainable manner. Administrators at these campus environments must balance environmental impact with their power expense budgets to meet the expectations of their various constituencies. Ultra-clean on-site fuel cell power plants help to address these needs as the plants are easy to site next to buildings due to the virtual lack of pollutants, quiet operation with no vibrations, and modest space requirements.

1.4 MW fuel cell at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut

1.4 MW fuel cell power plant at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut

Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) power plants, unlike traditional reciprocating engines and gas turbines, produce virtually no nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), or particulate emissions (PM). While the average fossil fuel power plant in the USA produces nearly 25 pounds of these emissions per megawatt hour, the DFC fuel cell produces just 0.1 pounds of these emissions. Due to their high efficiency, DFC power plants emit dramatically less carbon dioxide (CO2) than combustion-based power generation, representing a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly when configured for combined heat and power (CHP) applications.

BioCycle: Micro-grid at a University

The fuel cell power plant can be configured as a micro-grid.  This allows the power plant to operate independently from the electric grid as an ‘island’; a configuration an East Coast university with undergraduate enrollment of about 4,800 students chose.  As a micro-grid, the power plant can also support a larger system to balance intermittent renewable power generation, exemplified at a West Coast university with undergraduate enrollment of about 30,000 (see case study link to the left).

An additional benefit unique to higher education facilities is that DFCs offer real-world opportunities for fascinating, hands-on research in clean power generation technologies for faculty and students.

In many regions, financial incentives are available for installing ultra-clean distributed generation with CHP capabilities, such as stationary fuel cell power plants. These and the numerous other benefits of DFC power plants make them an economical and efficient power generation solution.