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FuelCell Energy wins order to install fuel cell power plant for landmark London office tower

FuelCell Energy Solutions has sold a stationary fuel cell power plant for installation at the 20 Fenchurch office development in central London, UK. The ultra-clean and efficient power generation profile of the fuel cell system will facilitate clean-air permitting and support London’s carbon reduction targets.

The power plant will be manufactured by FuelCell Energy Solutions GmbH (FCES), which will also operate and maintain the system under a service contract, from its operations centre in Germany. The DFC300-EU molten carbonate fuel cell will be installed in 2013, and commissioned for the building completion in 2014.

FCES is a joint venture between Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy Inc and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden, Germany. FCES is the sales, manufacturing and service business for the European Served Area for FuelCell Energy, with administrative offices in Dresden and manufacturing operations in Ottobrunn, near Munich.

The fuel cell installation will be designed, integrated, and maintained by Edinburgh-based Logan Energy Ltd, a leading integrator of stationary fuel cell systems. Logan Energy previously installed a fuel cell power plant in Transport for London’s prestigious Palestra Building, which has been operating successfully since it was commissioned in February 2009.

The 38-storey, 690 000 sq ft (64 100 m2) office building at 20 Fenchurch – nicknamed the ‘Walkie Talkie’ – is being developed by Canary Wharf Group and Land Securities. The building utilises a distinctive design that widens as the height increases, providing a smaller footprint and correspondingly larger public space at street level, and additional floor space for lease on the upper floors.

The Direct FuelCell® power plant will provide electricity and heat in a combined heat and power (CHP) configuration, with high-temperature heat provided to an absorption chiller for cooling, and lower-temperature heat for facility and hot water heating.

The fuel cell will provide an electrical output of 300 kW – enough to power almost 800 average UK households – and a thermal output of more than 300 kW. The fuel cell power plant will be installed within the office building, as the quiet operation and virtual lack of pollutants from fuel cells is well suited for populated areas.

‘The fuel cell power plant is at the heart of the building’s sustainability strategy, and will be the first installation of its type in the City of London’s Square Mile,’ says Neil Pennell, Head of Sustainability and Engineering for Land Securities. ‘Having the opportunity to run the plant on a day-to-day basis in this landmark building will provide us with a great insight into the future potential of this technology to reduce carbon emissions and virtually eliminate the emission of pollutants in commercial office building applications.’

The DFC power plant supports the targets established by the Mayor of London to supply 25% of London’s energy from decentralised sources and reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2025, supporting the Mayor’s vision for London to be the greenest large city in the world.

Generating both electricity and heat from the same unit of fuel reduces fuel costs and drives efficiency. Fuel cells can achieve up to 90% efficiency when the heat is utilised in a CHP configuration.

FuelCell Energy recently received an order for 121.8 MW of fuel cell kits and services from its South Korean partner, POSCO Energy. The order is the biggest the fuel cell industry has yet seen.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Green building