FuelCell Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) has secured a $3.2 million contract from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for advanced material development to enhance power density and performance of the next generation of the company's Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) products. The company has included both the University of Connecticut and the Illinois Institute of Technology to support select aspects of the research for this three year project. The advances supported by the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy also target more cost effective systems for tri-generation, to co-produce heat, power and hydrogen.
"Our customers, including utilities, universities, industrial operations and others, value the affordable and efficient distributed power generation that our fuel cell power plants provide," said Chip Bottone, Chief Executive Officer, FuelCell Energy, Inc. "The Department of Energy supports greater adoption of clean distributed generation to meet the growing demand for increased electric grid resiliency, and this project award will help us further enhance the customer value proposition of our fuel cell power plants."
"We continue to welcome collaboration opportunities with FuelCell Energy where we can contribute to the company's fuel cell technology through fundamental and applied research in clean and efficient energy systems," said Dr. Kazem Kazerounian, Dean School of Engineering, University of Connecticut. "Our involvement in this project further validates our focus on sustainable energy engineering, which we feel is critical for the global competitiveness of American businesses and pursued in a manner that protects the environment."
"We like to collaborate with universities to improve our fuel cell technology by accessing the research talent as well as fostering university-level research that is helpful to the community with jobs and exposing students to real-life engineering applications," said Tony Leo, Vice President Applications & Advanced Technology Development, FuelCell Energy, Inc. "Contracts awarded to the University of Connecticut over the past several months have contributed approximately $1.5 million in research funding directly to the University, accelerating our level of interaction compared to prior years."
Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) power plants solve energy, environmental and business-related power generation challenges by providing ultra clean, efficient and reliable distributed power generation. The fuel cells combine a fuel such as natural gas or renewable biogas with oxygen from the ambient air to efficiently produce ultra-clean electricity and usable high quality heat through an electrochemical process. Virtually no pollutants are emitted due to the absence of combustion. Avoiding the emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM10) supports clean air regulations and benefits public health. The high efficiency of the fuel cell power generation process reduces fuel costs and carbon emissions, and producing both electricity and heat from the same unit of fuel further supports favorable economics while also promoting sustainability.