March 31, 2000
UPTON, NY - Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson joined state and local officials at the Energy Department's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory today to dedicate an advanced fuel cell power system at the lab. Today's installation of three state-of-the-art 7 kW cells is the first of several installations across Long Island planned by the Long Island Power Authority and Plug Power to test the performance and measure the potential for power generation from fuel cells.
"Power supply disruptions experienced last summer in several regions of the country, including Long Island, illustrate the importance of fuel cell technology in providing consumers a reliable source of clean, abundant, and locally produced energy," said Secretary Richardson. "Just one of these fuel cells would be able to meet the electricity and hot water needs of the average home on Long Island."
Installed in homes and businesses, the cutting-edge fuel cell technology converts natural gas into usable electricity without combustion through an electrochemical reaction. A fuel cell derives its chemical energy from a continuous flow of fuel, hydrogen-rich gas, and air which feeds the electrochemical reaction that produces electricity. Heat is also produced by the fuel cell, which can be used for hot water or other heating needs with greater energy-efficiency and significantly fewer emissions.
DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory is serving as the site for testing the cutting-edge fuel cell technology. The research that brought the fuel cell system to Brookhaven is the result of a partnership forged between DOE, the Long Island Power Authority, Plug Power, and the state of New York's Energy Research and Development Agency.
The partnership, announced in April 1999, is part of DOE's strategic effort to make fuel cells a viable power generation option. Long Island Power Authority will install several units across Long Island.
"Our commitment to provide reliable, affordable and quality power to our 1.1 million customers on Long Island will be strengthened by advanced energy supply technologies such as the fuel cell," said Richard Kessel, chairman of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). "By fostering the use of energy efficient technologies, LIPA will help provide clean energy choices for its customers well into the 21st century."
The fuel cells installed today were manufactured by Plug Power, located in Latham, N.Y. The Long Island Power Authority has launched a program to test these fuel cell systems at locations across Long Island, including the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, Hofstra University, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
"We believe that fuel cells will become an integral part of the new economy for the energy industry, and will help fulfill our mission of providing a complete range of power solutions from wellhead to consumer," said Robert L. Nardelli, president and CEO of GE Power Systems. "Field testing at sites like Brookhaven is an important step in Plug Power and GE Power System's efforts to refine fuel cell technology and develop competitive product offerings for residential and small commercial applications."
The Department of Energy researches, develops and deploys clean, efficient, and renewable energy technologies to help meet America's energy needs while protecting the environment and strengthening the economy. Energy technologies supported and promoted by the department will play a key role in providing Clean Energy for the 21st Century.
Last updated 5/28/99 by Public Affairs