Installation to be first fuel cell in Texas with direct connection to grid
SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn., July 25, 2002 – UTC Fuel Cells, a unit of United Technologies Corp., today announced the installation of a PC25 fuel cell system to provide distributed power at a health center in Austin, Texas.
Austin Energy installed the 200-kW fuel cell system, which also produces 900,000 BTUs of usable heat per hour, at the Rebekah Baines Johnson Health Center.
Electricity produced by the unit is fed into the Austin Energy electric grid, making it the first fuel cell in Texas to feed power to the grid. The health center is using the heat produced by the unit to heat water for the health center, helping it avoid the cost and the emissions associated with operating a natural gas-fired boiler.
The RBJ Health Center is headquarters for the public health and community care components of the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. Austin Energy, which is Austin’s community-owned utility, plans to open the installation to the public as a demonstration facility and provide tours and educational programs.
Bill Miller, president of UTC Fuel Cells, said an increasing number of utilities are exploring the benefits of distributed generation, specifically fuel cells because they operate quietly with virtually no pollution.
“PC25 fuel cells have helped utilities around the world provide clean, high-quality power and heat to customers where it is needed for more than 10 years,” said Miller. “We are pleased to add Austin Energy to our long list of utility customers.”
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat and water. Because hydrogen is often not readily available, the PC25 uses a fuel processor to convert hydrocarbon fuels, typically natural gas, into a hydrogen-rich stream that is fed into the fuel cell.
While a traditional generating system produces as much as 25 pounds of pollutants to generate 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, the PC25 power plant produces less than an ounce. UTC Fuel Cells has manufactured the PC25 power plant since 1991 and has delivered more than 250 units to customers in 19 countries on five continents.
UTC Fuel Cells is the world in fuel cell production and development for commercial, transportation, residential and space applications. It is the sole supplier of fuel cells for U.S. manned space missions and the only company producing a commercially available fuel cell power plant.