FuelCell Energy Solutions GmbH today announced the final acceptance of its first German-manufactured fuel cell power plant that is installed and operating at Berlin’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) office complex.

BAM Deutschland AG constructed the office complex, which achieved a gold certificate sustainability rating recognizing sustainable practices incorporated into the design and operation of the office complex. FuelCell Energy Solutions built the fuel cell plant at its manufacturing facility in Ottobrunn, Germany and is operating and maintaining the power plant on behalf of BAM Immobilien-Dienstleistungen GmbH under a long term service agreement. This building project, executed on schedule and within budget, illustrates the first large-scale civil engineering project undertaken by the federal government as part of a public-private partnership.

“The Federal Ministry of Research values sustainability as new innovations increase energy efficiency and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rüdiger Frischer, Press Officer at BMBF. “We deliberately chose a sustainable energy management system for the Ministry complex. The high efficiency of the fuel cell power generation process is a critical aspect of this sustainability system, using about a third less fuel compared to conventional power generation alternatives. Additionally, the fuel cell plant enables the Ministry complex to be about 50% below relevant energy saving regulations.”

The highly efficient and ultra-clean fuel cell power plant is the cornerstone of the sustainable energy management system that also includes solar arrays for meeting peak energy demand when the sun is shining and a natural gas engine for peak power when solar is not available. “The fuel cells, as the heart of this innovative energy concept, contribute largely to the reduction of the fuel demand of the building complex,” said to Markus Koch, head of the building contractor BAM Deutschland GmbH.

“This installation, located inside an office complex in central Berlin, showcases the ability of fuel cells to meet power load requirements for a large facility, cleanly, quietly, and with an economically compelling value proposition,” said Chip Bottone, President and Chief Executive Officer of FuelCell Energy, Inc. and Managing Director of FuelCell Energy Solutions GmbH. “Stationary fuel cell power plants are well-suited for both commercial applications as well as utility grid-support as their high electrical efficiency makes them an affordable solution that is not dependent on the weather or time of day to produce power.”

The power plant is configured for a combined heat and power (CHP) application to enhance the system’s efficiency and provide the office complex with continuous electricity and usable high quality heat for heating and absorption chilling. The fuel cell power plant generates approximately 40% of the facility’s electrical needs and 20% of thermal needs. The virtual absence of pollutants, quiet operation and lack of vibrations enables fuel cell power plants to be located in populated areas and within buildings, such as this installation. The on-site power generation acts as a micro-grid, enhancing energy security for the complex as power is available even in the event of a grid outage.