May 1, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE). FuelCell Energy Inc. has announced the development of a project to install a 1.4-MW fuel-cell power plant at the University of Bridgeport that will supply approximately 80% of the campus power needs. On-site power generation provides energy security and power reliability to the university operations as the fuel-cell power plant will operate as a micro-grid, capable of operating independently from the electric grid. The ultra-clean emission profile of the fuel cell power generation advances the sustainability goals of the university.
FuelCell Energy will install, operate and maintain the plant, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2014. The University of Bridgeport, a private institution with total enrollment of about 4,800 students and located in Bridgeport, CT, will purchase the electricity and heat under a multi-year power purchase agreement.
“Sustainable and affordable energy is an increasingly important component of the new energy mix at the University of Bridgeport,” said Neil Albert Salonen, president of the University of Bridgeport. “Our Renewable Energy Research Lab evaluates technologies in energy conversion, utilization, and storage in fuel cells, solar, wind, and hybrid systems. This lab is motivated by the strong need to prepare the next generation of inter-disciplinary engineers with a comprehensive background in sustainable energy and this fuel cell installation will help us achieve our goals by enabling us to practice what we teach.”
“We are pleased to be providing the University of Bridgeport with an on-site power generation solution that meets their financial returns and sustainability goals and enhances campus energy security,” said Chip Bottone, president and chief executive officer, FuelCell Energy Inc. “Universities are ideal candidates for our ultra-clean and efficient fuel cell power plants due to their power usage profile that requires base-load power, desire for sustainable power generation, need for energy security, and demand for reliability that on-site power generation provides.”
The University will benefit from the plant's combined heat and power (CHP) capabilities as the same unit of fuel generates both ultra-clean power and usable high quality heat. By reducing usage of combustion based boilers for heat, the University will enjoy cost savings and a reduction in pollutants and CO2 emissions from the existing boiler. The heat will be used to generate hot water for heating the university recreation center, a dormitory and campus apartments. The project enhances the campus micro-grid with capital improvements to the University power infrastructure and the ability of the fuel cell power plant to continue to provide power to the campus should the utility grid experience an extended outage.
This project is part of the state of Connecticut's Low-emission Renewable Energy Credit (LREC) program that supports the adoption of environmentally friendly and affordable distributed power generation and reinforces State and local level energy policies and goals.
Participants receive renewable energy credit payments for each megawatt hour of power produced due to the high efficiency and the virtual lack of pollutants from a fuel cell power plant.
FuelCell Energy is undertaking this project development and expects to close on permanent financing on or before the commercial operation date of the power plant. The University of Bridgeport has entered into a multi-year power purchase agreement to buy the electricity and heat produced by the fuel cell power plant.