Emits water – Not Pollutants
FuelCell Energy power plants convert fuels such as clean natural gas or renewable biogas into electricity, heat, and water through an electrochemical reaction within the fuel cells. This combustion-free power generation process creates electricity that is virtually absent of pollutants, supporting customer sustainability goals and promoting public health for neighboring communities.
In comparison, internal combustion-based power generation creates harmful emissions such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM). NOx and SOx emissions are regulated in many regions to minimize their adverse health effects and the creation of smog. PM emissions are a public health concern as the particulates can lodge deep in human lung tissue, accumulating over time. While downstream exhaust treatment of internal combustion emissions can remove some NOx, SOx and PM, overall levels remain significantly higher than those achieved from ultra-clean fuel cell power generation. Downstream exhaust treatment for internal combustion power generation also adds cost and complication.
Clean Emissions Profile
Our SureSource fuel cells have a low carbon footprint. Natural gas does contain carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, so fuel cells operating on natural gas do emit some CO₂; however, our power plants release significantly less CO2 than combustion-based power generation due to the high efficiency of the fuel cell power generation process. As of today, nine states in the USA have classified stationary fuel cells as Class I renewable power generation due to their high efficiency and resultant low carbon emissions. While operating on biogas, our fuel cell systems are typically classified as carbon-neutral, or in some cases carbon negative, by regulatory authorities due to the renewable nature of the biogas fuel source.
The low emissions and near-zero pollutant profile of our products facilitates the clean air permitting process. Our SureSource power plants have received certification under the California Air Resources Board’s distributed generation standards when operating on natural gas and the SureSource 1500 is certified for operation on renewable biogas. In the State of California, the CARB 2007 certification allows the local Air Quality Management District to exempt the fuel cell installation from the clean air permitting process, which accelerates the approval process. Outside of California, the CARB 2007 certification independently validates the clean air profile of SureSource plants.