Schools: Cal State Installs Fuel Cell Power Plant, Auburn Swaps Air Filters

by | Nov 12, 2013

Energy Manage fuel cellA new 1.4 MW utility-owned Direct Fuel Cell DFC 1500 power plant (pictured) is now in full operation at California State University San Bernardino. The plant is a joint project between Cal State and Southern California Edison. The fuel cell plant is integrated into the campus’ central plant and is generating electricity to the utility grid with waste heat to the campus at no cost to the university, resulting in an estimated annual savings of $120,000 from avoided natural gas costs.

The combined heat and power configuration – commonly known as cogeneration – of the fuel cell will reduce the campus’s carbon dioxide emissions by lessening reliance on high temperature hot water generators. The fuel cell will continue to use natural gas to generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction, but because there is no combustion, emissions are significantly reduced. Cal State San Bernardino is the fifth California university with a Direct FuelCell installation, representing 8 MW in total power generation capacity. This fuel cell power plant was manufactured by Fuel Cell Energy and is owned by SCE.

Auburn University replaced the air filters at buildings throughout its Alabama campus with high-efficiency filters from Camfil Air Filter, resulting in energy savings of 20 percent as well as reduced maintenance. With traditional air filters, the university consumed between 25,000 and 30,000 filters per year, but in fiscal 2013 with the Camfil filters, the school installed only 4,549 filters. While Camfil air filters cost more than traditional filters, their less frequent change-out saves maintenance time for Auburn’s staff.

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