• Phase II funding approved for system that generates electricity and hydrogen -- to serve in vehicle refueling and industrial applications requiring the gas in pure form
DANBURY, CT, July 18, 2007 -- FuelCell Energy Inc., a leading manufacturer of ultra-clean power plants using a variety of fuels for commercial, industrial, utility and government customers, today announced approval to scale up a product that separates hydrogen from a gas mixture while generating electricity. The Electrochemical Hydrogen Separation (EHS) system, developed for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center's Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL), enables the pure, extracted gas to be sold as fuel for hydrogen vehicles or for industrial uses.
Funding and scale-up approval of the EHS system are the direct result of achievements in design and test work with a sub-scale model starting in 2006. That prototype successfully operated for over 6000 hours. Compared to conventional hydrogen separation processes, FuelCell Energy's EHS system offered up to 50 percent savings in operating costs. Because of the high efficiency of the fuel cell plant, CO2 emissions associated with hydrogen production are significantly reduced.
The $1.225 million Phase II contract, supported in part by the U.S. Department of Defense, is expected to be complete by mid-2008. Phase I work on the EHS system was funded by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, ERDC-CERL and FuelCell Energy. The sub-scale system was operated and tested at the University of Connecticut.
The EHS system, when combined with FuelCell Energy's Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) power plants (DFC-H2-EHS) provides an attractive solution for distributed generation of hydrogen and electricity. The overall co-production system is designed to operate using renewable fuel sources such as anaerobic digester gas from industrial or municipal wastewater processing, as well as readily available fuels like natural gas and propane. Unlike other compression-based methods of separating hydrogen, FuelCell Energy's EHS has no moving parts, resulting in higher efficiency and reliability.
"FuelCell Energy's DFC-H2-EHS has many military and civilian applications that are critical to developing the hydrogen economy and furthering our energy independence," said Frank Holcomb, Project Manager at ERDC-CERL. "The system will also help us meet the Department of Defense's stated objective to reduce its energy needs by 1 to 2 percent, significantly reducing our NOX, SOX, and particulate matter emissions, as well as our carbon footprint."
Chris Bentley, FuelCell Energy's Executive Vice President of Government Operations, Strategic Manufacturing Development, said, "Enhancing our core DFC technology with new far-reaching, high-efficiency clean energy applications is the goal of our successful research and development programs. This program is an excellent example of that focus."
FuelCell Energy is the world leader in the development and production of stationary fuel cells for commercial, industrial, municipal and utility customers. FuelCell Energy's Ultra-Clean and high efficiency DFC® fuel cells are generating power at over 60 locations worldwide.
ERDC is the integrated Army Corps of Engineers' research and development organization. The center consists of seven laboratories, which include CERL. CERL conducts research and development in infrastructure and environmental sustainment. This research results in new technologies that help military installations provide and maintain quality training lands and facilities for Soldiers and their families. Many of these products also find use in the private sector. CERL represents a unique asset to the nation for research in civil engineering and environmental quality.