DANBURY, Conn., Oct. 19, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FuelCell Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq:FCEL), a leading manufacturer of high efficiency ultra-clean power plants using renewable and other fuels for commercial, industrial, government, and utility customers, today announced an award of approximately $2.8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to demonstrate the hydrogen production capacity of a Direct FuelCell (DFC®) power plant for an industrial user of hydrogen. For this first-of-a-kind industrial application, FuelCell Energy will demonstrate how a 300 kilowatt DFC300 fuel cell can produce hydrogen for use by the metal processing industry along with clean electricity and high quality heat. The fuel cell will be installed at a metal processing facility owned by ACuPowder International, LLC, located in Union, New Jersey.
The metal processing industry uses significant amounts of electricity and heat along with industrial gases such as hydrogen to treat metal prior to stamping, shaping or forming. ACuPowder uses this process, which is termed annealing, to make powdered copper. This project will capitalize on the versatility of fuel cells by configuring the fuel cell to generate three value streams including: 1) clean electricity, 2) hydrogen, and 3) high quality heat. Objectives of the project are to demonstrate a highly efficient and clean fuel cell that will reduce costs for a metal processor, including electric, heat and the costs associated with purchasing, transporting and storing industrial gases.
The DFC300 can generate about 300 pounds of hydrogen per day which generally meets the daily requirements of the ACuPowder facility. The cost of hydrogen to an industrial operation depends on the volume of hydrogen purchased and the distance from the production source. An industrial operation using this amount of hydrogen may pay $3.00 to $5.00 per pound or approximately $325,000 to $550,000 per year depending on their location. The hydrogen produced by the DFC300 is expected to substantially reduce this cost.
Fuel cells generate power through an electrochemical reaction that does not require combustion. As a result, fuel cells operate with higher efficiency and emit virtually no pollutants. When byproduct heat is utilized the combined efficiency of the power plant can be greater than 80 percent, resulting in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 12,000 tons annually.
"We expect this fuel cell configuration to allow us to operate more efficiently by reducing electric, heat and industrial gas costs at our New Jersey location," said Edul Daver, President ACuPowder International LLC. "These costs are substantial and represent a significant portion of our total operating expenses so this project has the potential to make our Company more competitive globally. We appreciate the assistance of the U.S. Department of Energy in supporting U.S. manufacturing by funding half of this project."
The target markets for this fuel cell application are industrial consumers of hydrogen, including the metal treating and annealing industry and the transportation industry. There are over 600 companies in North America operating in the metal treating and annealing industry, which are potential customers for this technology. The international market is potentially larger.
"Applying the multiple value streams generated by the fuel cell to this metal processing application demonstrates the versatility of our fuel cell technology," commented Christopher Bentley, Executive Vice President, Government R&D Operations, Strategic Manufacturing Development, FuelCell Energy, Inc. "Providing reliable on-site hydrogen production along with clean electricity and high quality heat to reduce utility bills has the potential to yield a compelling value proposition for the metal processing industry."
ACuPowder International, LLC has manufactured metal powders for over 90 years and is a leader in copper metal powder production. The Company pioneered the invention of an atomizing process that has become the industry standard worldwide. Headquarters and an annealing plant are located in Union, New Jersey, and a second annealing plant is located in Tennessee. Sales are global with exports to over one dozen countries.
About FuelCell Energy
DFC® fuel cells are generating power at over 50 locations worldwide. The Company's power plants have generated over 600 million kWh of power using a variety of fuels including renewable wastewater gas, biogas from beer and food processing, as well as natural gas and other hydrocarbon fuels. FuelCell Energy has partnerships with major power plant developers and power companies around the world. The Company also receives funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and other government agencies for the development of leading edge technologies such as fuel cells. For more information please visit our website at www.fuelcellenergy.com
This news release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the Company's plans and expectations regarding the continuing development, commercialization and financing of its fuel cell technology and business plans. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that could cause such a difference include, without limitation, general risks associated with product development, manufacturing, changes in the regulatory environment, customer strategies, potential volatility of energy prices, rapid technological change, competition, and the Company's ability to achieve its sales plans and cost reduction targets, as well as other risks set forth in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statement to reflect any change in the Company's expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
Direct FuelCell, DFC, DFC/T, DFC-H2 and FuelCell Energy, Inc. are all registered trademarks of FuelCell Energy, Inc. DFC-ERG is a registered trademark jointly owned by Enbridge, Inc. and FuelCell Energy, Inc.
CONTACT: FuelCell Energy, Inc. Kurt Goddard, Vice President Investor Relations 203-830-7494 firstname.lastname@example.org
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