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NYC Transit Taps NYPA for Clean Fuel Cell Power Station

Brian Warner
Paul Fleuranges
MTA NYC Transit

February 8, 2006


QUEENS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit) have agreed on a $2 million project to power an expanded subway and bus maintenance facility in Corona with a clean energy 200-kilowatt (kW) fuel cell.

“Under Governor Pataki’s leadership NYPA is working with our public customers to bring new, clean energy technologies to their facilities.  This fuel cell project with New York City Transit is only the latest in a long line of energy-efficiency and research and development technology programs we have undertaken in support of the nation’s largest public transit system,” said NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy S. Carey.

"Just about anywhere you look in our subway and bus system today you can easily spot major examples of our commitment to vehicle efficiency and our Design for the Environment program is an industry leader in the areas of design and construction,” said MTA NYC Transit President Lawrence G. Reuter.  “Though this is our first fuel cell installation, it represents another step in our continuing commitment to sustainable transit development in terms of its social, economic and environmental impact.”

Stationary fuel cell power plants produce electricity through a virtually emission-free chemical reaction, rather than conventional combustion. The process capitalizes on the electrical energy produced when oxygen and hydrogen are combined.  The by-products are essentially heat and hot water. Installation is scheduled to begin in mid-February.  Once operational, the unit will displace some 2,800 barrels of oil per year.

In April 2005, the New York State Public Service Commission approved a Renewable Portfolio Standard providing for increased use of renewable energy sources, including fuel cells. This project in Queens will help implement Gov. Pataki’s vision that 25 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2013.

Currently underway is the construction of a new maintenance facility.  The project includes lay-up tracks, circuit breaker houses, signal relay room and a car washer adjacent to the Casey Stengel Bus Depot to replace the aging Corona maintenance shop which services the 7 Flushing Line. The three-story facility will also house administrative offices, and is the first major maintenance facility with sustainable Green design. Integrated into the design are photovoltaic roof cells, natural light and ventilation, motion detector light switches and a storm water retention system to wash the 7 subway car fleet.

Fueled by natural gas, the 200 kW fuel cell will be a continuous source of power.  Its residual heat, approximately 700,000 Btu per hour, will be used for the shop’s domestic hot water system. In case of a power disruption, the fuel cell will automatically supply electricity to the building’s non-emergency lights. Combined with other sustainable green design elements, NYC Transit expects to use 36% less energy over the life of the new facility.

This project builds upon NYC Transit’s use of clean energy power sources.  In 1996 NYPA installed a 300 kW roof-mounted solar power array at the Gun Hill bus depot in the Bronx. During warm weather months, the solar array supplies 15 percent of this bus depots’ electrical needs. NYC Transit has been using solar energy to provide power to the Maspeth Warehouse Facility in Queens and the Jackie Gleason Bus Depot in Brooklyn since the late 1990’s.  Last year NYC Transit unveiled a 100 kW solar canopy at the newly reconstructed Stillwell Avenue Terminal in Coney Island. Underscoring its commitment to the environment, NYC Transit became a full signatory of the International Association of Public Transportation’s (UITP) charter on Sustainable Development in Mobility in 2004 and was the first public transit agency in the world to attain international certification for environmental management (ISO 14001).

The Power Authority is a leading national proponent of clean distributed energy technologies with 2.4 megawatts of installed capacity.  It has installed 11 fuel cells in the New York City metropolitan region including eight at wastewater treatment plants, operated by NYC, where the units generate electricity using as fuel the gases produced through the wastewater cleansing process.

About NYPA:

■The New York Power Authority is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating plants in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.  ■ NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and earns revenue from proceeds of its operations, which stems largely from the sale of electricity. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.


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