VIDEO: Waste Derived Biogas to Power Fuel Cells on Dairy Farm as DOE Backs Manufacturer

Waste Derived Biogas to Power Fuel Cells on Dairy Farm as DOE Backs FuelCell Energy
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Danbury, Connecticut based, FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:  FCEL) - which has developed a solid oxide fuel cell technology capable of running on waste derived biogas - is to enter into a $6.4 million cost shared cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to continue research and development on a demonstration sub-megawatt SOFC  power plant.

In addition to this latest agreement with the DOE, a separate DOE supported project that the company has been working on is preparing to use a fuel cell to convert agricultural waste into renewable energy at a dairy farm in California in conjunction with the project partner TDA Research.

The company said that a solid oxide fuel cell power plant demonstration is planned for early 2014 at the dairy farm within the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in California, which will facilitate the installation and operation of the SOFC power system.

According to FuelCell Energy, many agricultural operations generate more biogas and electrical generation potential than they can use for their daily operations, which is why the ability to interconnect to the electric grid is an important part of understanding the future market potential and the ability to support sustainability of farms.

The manufacturer also noted that its carbonate fuel cell technology is fuel flexible, capable of operating on natural gas, on-site renewable biogas, or directed biogas.

The objective of the DOE award is the demonstration of a sub-megawatt solid oxide fuel cell power plant configured for combined heat & power (CHP) output and connected to the electric grid at FuelCell Energy's Danbury, Connecticut facility.

The company claimed that SOFC systems operating on coal syngas, natural gas or biogas can generate clean power with virtually zero pollutants and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, particularly when configured for combined heat and power.

"We have a multi-faceted strategy for the commercialization of our solid oxide fuel cell technology including future coal syngas opportunities under a U.S. Department of Energy program as well as adjacent market opportunities to our existing markets including sub megawatt commercial building and wastewater treatment plant applications," commented Chip Bottone, president and chief executive officer at FuelCell Energy.

The term of the award is 18 months.

A video explaining the fuel cell stack technology can be seen below.

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