FuelCell Energy, Inc. will collaborate with NRG Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, owned by NRG Yield, to host a fuel cell power plant under a previously awarded US Department of Energy contract.

The proposed power plant will deliver energy to the NRG facility, which provides heating and cooling for more than six million square feet of commercial and residential facilities in downtown Pittsburgh.

NRG Energy Center Pittsburgh’s General Manager, Cliff Blashford, said the project will support NRG Yield’s focus on identifying and integrating energy solutions that seek to improve efficiency, lower fuel consumption and costs, and reduce their environmental footprint.

He added, “We’re pleased to participate and to support Mayor Peduto’s vision of a smarter, cleaner and more innovative energy future for Pittsburgh.” 

FuelCell Energy’s President and CEO, Chip Buttone, commented, “We are leveraging our commercial experience with this new solution, including leading electrical efficiency plus thermal capabilities packaged in a design that installs quickly.”

“While this application in Pittsburgh will be a demonstration of the use of our solid oxide fuel cell platform for efficient power generation, this common cell platform is also being used in other programmes as the basis for our energy storage technology, whereby the cells alternate between electrolysis and fuel cell operation, providing hydrogen during electrolysis mode which is later used to make power in fuel cell mode.”

FuelCell Energy’s SOFC power generation technology generates industry-leading electrical efficiency of approximately 60% plus usable heat for combined heat and power applications, resulting in total estimated thermal efficiency between 80 and 85%.

The fuel cell plant hosted at the NRG Yield facility will operate solely on clean natural gas, although the technology is fuel flexible, with the ability to utilise coal syngas, natural gas, on-site renewable biogas or directed biogas. 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.