FuelCell Energy, Inc. has commenced its previously disclosed North American manufacturing facility expansion.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held to highlight the expansion project, which will increase the size of the facility by approximately 102,000 square feet to approximately 167,000 square feet in total. The project will enhance and streamline logistics functions and manufacturing processes and prepare for subsequent manufacturing capacity expansion.

The expansion is being undertaken in two phases with the first stage increasing the size of the manufacturing facility and the second stage increasing annual manufacturing capacity from the current 100 megawatts to at least 200 megawatts. Plans for the second stage include the installation of a megawatt scale tri-generation fuel cell plant to power and heat the facility as well as provide hydrogen for the manufacturing process of the fuel cell components, and the creation of advanced technology testing and prototype manufacturing.

Initially, the added space will be used to enhance and streamline logistics functions and provide the space needed to reconfigure the existing production process to improve manufacturing efficiencies and realize cost savings. As demand supports, manufacturing equipment will be added to increase annual capacity. Under the first phase of the expansion, the company expects to add 165 positions to its existing workforce of over 500 employees. In phase two, the company would add another 160 positions.

“We are experiencing increasing interest in our affordable and highly efficient on-site power generation solutions and this phased expansion is positioning us for further growth,” Chip Bottone, Chief Executive Officer, FuelCell Energy, Inc. said.

Fuel cells electrochemically convert a fuel source into electricity and heat in a highly efficient process that emits virtually no pollutants due to the absence of combustion. The Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) stationary fuel cell power plants manufactured by FuelCell Energy utilize carbonate fuel cell technology and provide continuous power located where the power is used, including both on-site applications and electric grid support. The power plants are fuel flexible, capable of operating on natural gas, on-site renewable biogas, or directed biogas.