Fuel Cell Micro-Grid Reducing University Operating Costs and Supporting Community Energy Reliance
Fuel Cell Micro-Grid Reducing University Operating Costs and Supporting Community Energy Reliance
author Added by FuelCellsWorks, July 14, 2017
  • Fuel cell micro-grid helps ensure predictable power for University of Bridgeport infrastructure
  • Fuel cell power plant is reducing University of Bridgeport energy costs
  • Local community benefits with emergency shelter and first-responder back-up site

DANBURY, Conn., -- FuelCell Energy, Inc.  (Nasdaq:FCEL), a global leader in delivering clean, innovative and affordable fuel cell solutions for the supply, recovery and storage of energy, today announced the completion of a megawatt-class fuel cell micro-grid at the University of Bridgeport after successfully proving its grid-independent operation.  The 1.4 megawatt fuel cell power plant, which is located at the University, supplies predictable ultra-clean power to the electric grid under normal operation and then automatically switches to a grid-independent mode in the event of a grid disturbance, supplying critical University facilities with continuous power.  This community-focused micro-grid was tested by temporarily disconnecting the University from the electric grid with the fuel cell power plant shifting to a grid-independent operating mode and powering the school’s critical infrastructure, reverting back to grid interconnected status at the end of the test.  Accordingly, the completion and implementation of this micro-grid enhances the value proposition for on-site fuel cells and further benefits the University and the local Bridgeport community.

“This is a win-win for all,” said UB President Neil A. Salonen. “The much-anticipated installation of the fuel cell on campus is cutting our energy costs, uses clean and efficient fuel cells that protect our students and the environment, and as a designated community shelter, provides critical energy to all.”

“The University of Bridgeport micro-grid project is a perfect example of the value of our micro-grid grant program,” said Commissioner Robert Klee, Connecticut Department Energy and Environmental Protection.  “With the support of funding we have provided, this micro-grid helps power the campus with reliable and affordable power on a 24/7 basis, and also keeps critical faculties up and running to serve the campus and larger community in the event of a power outage.”

Funding was provided by a grant from the State of Connecticut administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). 

University of Bridgeport entered into a long term power purchase agreement (PPA), purchasing power from the fuel cell installation as it is generated.  The agreement’s competitive pricing drove down operating costs to generate an estimated $300,000 in savings annually for the University without any capital investment.   FuelCell Energy developed the project and once operational, the power plant was purchased by NRG Yield (NYSE:NYLD).  FuelCell Energy operates and maintains the fuel cell power plant and micro-grid. 

“Fuel cells are compelling for micro-grids as they are clean, affordable, and unlike intermittent technologies, fuel cells supply predictable power that enhances energy security for critical facilities such as the University of Bridgeport campus,” said Chip Bottone, President and Chief Executive Officer FuelCell Energy.

A/Z Corporation provided contracting services, including modifications to UB’s medium-voltage electrical-distribution system and implemented a digital micro-grid control system that detects a power outage, islands or separates the fuel cell power plant from the electric grid, and then powers critical campus facilities from the fuel cell plant.

Fuel cell power plant installations such as this project are particularly appealing to Universities for a number of reasons, including:

Operating cost reductions from the highly efficient on-site power generation process
Combined heat and power further enhances economics and supports sustainability initiatives
Fuel cells provide continuous power that is not dependent on the time of day or weather
The quiet and vibration free operation of fuel cell power plants combined with modest space requirements and clean air profile enables the plants to be located next to occupied buildings

About the University of Bridgeport 
The University of Bridgeport offers career-oriented undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees and award-winning academic programs in a culturally diverse learning environment that prepares graduates for leadership in an increasingly interconnected world. There are 400 full- and part-time faculty members, including Fulbright Scholars, National Science Foundation Fellows, Ford Fellows, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellows, American Council for Learned Societies Scholars, and Phi Beta Kappa Scholars. The University is independent and non-sectarian. For more, please visit www.bridgeport.edu.

About FuelCell Energy
FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL) delivers efficient, affordable and clean solutions for the supply, recovery and storage of energy.  We design, manufacture, undertake project development, install, operate and maintain megawatt-scale fuel cell systems, serving utilities, industrial and large municipal power users with solutions that include both utility-scale and on-site power generation, carbon capture, local hydrogen production for transportation and industry, and long duration energy storage.  With SureSource™ installations on three continents and millions of megawatt hours of ultra-clean power produced, FuelCell Energy is a global leader with environmentally responsible power solutions.  Visit us online at www.fuelcellenergy.com and follow us on Twitter.