As of October 1, 2014, there were active or publicly announced stationary fuel cell installations in more than half of California’s 58 counties. These installations represent more than 100 megawatts of installed capacity … enough to provide electricity to 100,000 homes.
A small number of these systems are, in fact, providing power to individual residences, but the majority provide on-site baseload power for a variety of end uses that include: a brewery, food processing plants, corporate data centers, grocery stores, several hotels, a casino, jails, college campuses, and numerous wastewater treatment plants. Other fuel cell systems provide backup power for cell phone towers and at other locations that require an uninterruptible power supply for safety or other operational reasons.
The installations include Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells, Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells, Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells, and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. They operate on natural gas, renewable digester gas, hydrogen, or, in the case of one manufacturer, Hydroplus, which is a mixture of methanol and water. In some cases, the fuel cells provide electricity only, but in most cases, the fuel cells provide electricity and heat while emitting virtually zero criteria pollutants and, depending on the fuel source, reducing or neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions. Depending on the fuel cell type and the application, the systems operate at fuel-to-electricity efficiencies of 30 to 50 percent, and overall efficiencies in excess of 80 percent.
There are fuel cell installations in more than 100 cities, and you can learn more about the individual projects by clicking on the icons on the map below.
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California Fuel Cell Installations by Technology Type
click on one of the fuel cell type icons on the navigation bar