FuelCell Energy awarded patent for efficient direct fuel cell/turbine system


DANBURY, Conn., Apr 4, 2002 — FuelCell Energy Inc., a developer and manufacturer of Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) power plants, announced today that it has received U.S. patent, #6,365,290, titled, “High Efficiency Fuel Cell System,” for its combined cycle Direct FuelCell/Turbine (DFC/T®) power plant.

The patent award is for a fuel cell system in which a fuel cell and a heat engine, such as a gas turbine, are combined. In the patented DFC/T system, the fuel cell power is augmented by a gas turbine using the byproduct heat of the fuel cell. The supplemental turbine power increases the efficiency and reduces the cost of the power generated without using additional fuel.

The combined system does not require any combustion in the turbine and the patent covers both external and internal reforming fuel cells. The company expects the DFC/T to approach the 75 percent efficiency goal as specified by the Department of Energy’s Vision 21 program while retaining the ultra-low emissions attribute of the company’s DFC power plants.

“The ultra-high efficiency combined cycle fuel cell/turbine power system is capable of producing electricity at efficiencies much greater than presently available, resulting in significantly reduced fuel requirements for power generation” said Jerry D. Leitman, president and CEO of FuelCell Energy Inc.

The company is targeting this technology for the larger distributed generation market, focusing on 10 to 50 megawatt power plants to supplement the utility infrastructure for grid congestion and load pockets, and larger-scale onsite generation projects for commercial and industrial customers.

In July 2001, FuelCell Energy commenced a proof of concept of its DFC/T power plant based on a 250 kW DFC power plant integrated with a Capstone Turbine Corporation modified Model 330 Microturbine. The company is planning to test a Capstone C60 Model Microturbine that it expects will increase the efficiency of the 250 kW power plant.

The proof-of-concept testing results to date have verified the operability of the system and further testing will provide additional information for the design of a 40 MW DFC/T power plant. The U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Fossil energy is funding the first-of-a-kind test of the high efficiency DFC/T power plant.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory, as part of the DOE’s Vision 21 program, manages the cooperative agreement. Additional information on FuelCell Energy’s DFC/T can be found on its web site at http://www.fce.com/site/products/hybrid.html. The full text of the patent can be found at The United States Patent and Trademark Offices’ website at http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html.

About Direct FuelCells
Direct FuelCells generate electricity with no combustion. They are, in effect, like large, continuously operating batteries that generate electricity as long as fuel, such as natural gas, is supplied. Since the fuel is not burned, there is no pollution commonly associated with the combustion of fossil fuels.

Also, the high efficiency leads to more electric power from less fuel and with less carbon dioxide emissions. In many states, fuel cells are being classified as the equivalent of renewable technologies such as wind and solar.

About FuelCell Energy, Inc.
FuelCell Energy, Inc. (www.fuelcellenergy.com), Danbury, Conn., is involved in the development and commercialization of high efficiency fuel cells for electric power generation.

The company is developing Direct FuelCell® technology for stationary power plants with the U.S. Department of Energy through the National Energy Technology Laboratory, whose advanced fuel cell research program is focused on developing a new generation of high performance fuel cells that can generate clean electricity at power stations or in distributed locations near the customer, including hospitals, schools, universities and other commercial and industrial applications.


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