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How FuelCell Energy Empowers Communities

Luba Volkova

July 2, 2024

Derby-above_1000pxPictured above: Fuel cell park located in Derby, Connecticut

At FuelCell Energy, we believe a community should never be forced to choose between having reliable access to energy or living in a healthy, thriving environment. Since the company’s inception, our engineers, scientists, and researchers have been dedicated to perfecting efficient power generation technologies that do not produce harmful emissions. With our latest generation of fuel cells and electrolyzers, two technological advancements that achieve this end, the possibilities for healthy communities seem endless.

We believe that by providing access to clean and reliable energy, we create opportunities within communities while benefiting our environment and climate. We strive to advance our technology and solutions to provide communities with clean and affordable power while supporting resiliency, economic development, and social impact.


Providing clean power to improve community health

According to research from Harvard University, air pollution from combusting fossil fuels is responsible for about one in five deaths worldwide.1 In the U.S., 350,000 premature deaths in 2018 were attributed to fossil fuel pollution.2 We design fuel cells that electrochemically combine fuel and air to create power without combustion. The electrochemical reaction in fuel cells is virtually free of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter emissions, which makes our technology safe for communities. The fuel cell power plant’s compact design, quiet operation, and clean emissions profile make it easy to site in populated areas.


FuelCell Energy embraces economic development to address communities’ longstanding environmental concerns

It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S.3 Brownfields pose environmental exposure risks to community members via access to the sites or contamination of soil, air, and/or water at the site. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties requires significant investments and resources.

Our platforms can be and have been situated on polluted properties where the project pays for remediation, returning the property to city tax rolls. When we situate our platforms on brownfields, we clean up and sustainably reuse the land which leads to improved local environmental quality as well as attracting businesses, creating jobs, and providing additional tax revenue for local governments, all while enhancing local power reliability.

bridgeport-fuel-cell-2Pictured above: Fuel cell park located in Bridgeport, Connecticut


Bridgeport Fuel Cell Park

In December 2023, the Bridgeport Fuel Cell Park in Connecticut marked its 10th anniversary since it started cleanly, quietly and efficiently supplying power to the electric grid — enough to power about 15,000 homes. We helped convert this previously contaminated brownfield land into a valuable resource for the local community which served as an anchor for the redevelopment of that section of Bridgeport. Also, the Bridgeport Fuel Cell Park is one of the largest taxpayers for the City of Bridgeport.


Fuel cells minimize land use to maximize community access to green space

Today, the U.S. uses 81 million acres of land to power its economy. To achieve the U.S. green energy transition, if the country pursues the most land-intensive plan to replace all fossil fuels and nuclear plants, wind and solar will require about 267 million additional acres by 20504. Our fuel cell modules are land-efficient and suitable for use even in a dense residential area with limited space. One acre of land supports a fuel cell park capable of generating 10 MW of power, a small fraction of the land needed by a solar farm to generate the same output. A typical solar farm needs around 450 times the space required for the same annual megawatt-hour output. This means more land for parks, schools, or other productive and sustainable uses.


Clean and affordable power to the City of Derby

In 2023, we began delivering clean and affordable power to the City of Derby, Connecticut, as part of the state of Connecticut’s effort to expand renewable energy sources. The second-largest fuel cell park in North America, following only FuelCell Energy’s Bridgeport Park, this project supplies clean power to more than 10,000 households and generates substantial tax revenue for the city. Additionally, all the components of the fuel cell stacks in this facility were made locally, in FuelCell Energy’s Torrington, Connecticut, factory. Our team is developing a second fuel cell project in Derby on Coon Hollow Road, under the state’s Shared Clean Energy Facility program. When completed, it will produce 2.8 megawatts of power replacing polluting power generation with clean electricity for several thousands of additional households.


Tri-gen system at Port of Long Beach

Last year, jointly with Toyota Motor North America (Toyota), we completed the first-of-its-kind Tri-gen system at Port of Long Beach, California, where neighboring communities are significantly impacted by the emissions from the ships, trucks, locomotives and cargo-handling equipment. For many years, the Los Angeles-Long Beach metropolitan area has been named the most ozone-polluted region in the nation5 with the Long Beach port complex being one of the largest sources of air pollution. With the Tri-gen system completed, Toyota’s port vehicle processing facility is powered by 100% renewable electricity, generated on-site and free of combustion-based emissions. The Tri-gen system, owned and operated by FuelCell Energy, produces renewable electricity, renewable hydrogen, and water from directed biogas. These carbon-neutral products at the Port of Long Beach will allow a reduction of air pollution in the neighboring communities by avoiding more than 9,000 tons of CO2 emissions from the power grid and more than six tons of grid NOx each year.


FuelCell Energy supports energy resilience for critical infrastructure

Fuel cells can ensure that a reliable energy supply is available to maintain operations in the event of a grid disruption due to storms and other events. Energy resilience can be very beneficial to communities during grid interruptions from severe weather or natural disasters. A 2.2 MW fuel-cell microgrid in Woodbridge, Connecticut provides power to a local high school and other nearby buildings. During power outages, the fuel cell switches to microgrid mode to provide reliable and uninterrupted power to seven critical town facilities.


FuelCell energy enables local high-efficiency power generation

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, power transmission continues to be a challenge in many parts of the United States6. Transmission line losses average about 5% for the U.S. grid, which represents inefficiency, results in additional emissions and is a hidden cost to ratepayers. In addition, overhead transmission lines have contributed to the ignition of wildfires in certain regions. At FuelCell Energy, our team of engineers, scientists and researchers have spent years advancing technologies that allow us to produce high-efficiency power locally, where the power is used, minimizing transmission losses and resulting in improved overall energy efficiency as well as enhanced grid reliability.

Locating power near the user also often provides opportunities to use the waste heat from the fuel cell in combined heat and power applications, which provide additional sustainability benefits by reducing the use of thermal fuel. The electrical efficiency of our carbonate fuel cell solutions ranges from approximately 47% to 60% upon initial operations of our platforms, depending on the configuration. When configured for combined heat and power, our system efficiencies can potentially reach up to 90%, depending on the application. This compares favorably to the average efficiency of the U.S. electrical grid of about 40%.

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1Harvard T.H. Chan, C-Change,, accessed January 2024.
2Harvard T.H. Chan, C-Change,, accessed January 2024.
3EPA,, accessed January 2024., accessed January 2024.
5American Lung Association,, accessed January 2024., National Transmission Needs Study,, accessed January 2024.

Luba Volkova

Liubov (Luba) Volkova joined FuelCell Energy in January 2023 as a Director of Social, Environmental, and Governance (ESG) to lead the company’s ESG and Corporate Social Responsibility vision and strategy. She oversees the company’s ESG priorities, reporting, and engagement, and aligns them with the expectations of a broad array of stakeholders. With over fifteen years of diverse experience in academia, government, and the private sector, Liubov applies an integrated and systemic approach to address ESG challenges, while driving growth, profitability, and impact for the company. Liubov holds a PhD in Environmental Policy & Economics from Saint Petersburg State University of Economics, an MS in Energy & Environment Policy from NYU, and an MBA from Zicklin School of Business, CUNY.

FuelCell Energy's 2023 Sustainability Report is now available. Learn more