Fuel Cell Powering New York Apartments

The state of New York now has a fuel cell powered (and heated) residential building –The Octagon, a LEED Silver certified 500-unit apartment development on Roosevelt Island.

The Octagon’s 400 kilowatt fuel cell from UTC Power was supported by a healthy $1.2 million in financial incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), marking what UTC hails as “a paradigm shift” in the state’s use of clean energy technologies. The fuel cell unit–a combined heat and power (CHP) system–was delivered over the winter and is currently operating at full capacity.

The Octagon Fuel Cell

image via UTC Power

The CHP fuel cell, a PureCell System Model 400, converts natural gas to electricity and heat through a non-combustion, electrochemical process that provides enough power and heat to satisfythe majority of the apartment building’s energy demand.  This high efficiency, near zero-emissions system also provides the building with domestic hot water.

The NYSERDA grant covered approximately half the cost of the fuel cell unit;  the project will also qualify for a federal refundable tax credit under the American Recover and Reinvestment Act expected to cover approximately 30% of the installation cost.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.