Our award-winning 200-kilowatt (kw) fuel cell power plant in Yonkers, Westchester County, was the world’s first commercial fuel cell to run on a waste gas created at a wastewater treatment plant, producing electricity through a virtually emission-free chemical reaction rather than combustion. The gas used by the fuel cell, primarily methane and carbon dioxide, is a byproduct of sewage treatment. In the past this gas was flared into the atmosphere, creating pollution. The Yonkers fuel cell helps avoid flaring (or burning off) of the potentially harmful waste gas, reducing emissions to the air with the added benefit of creating electricity. (More information on how fuel cells work.)
In addition, a total of eight Power Authority-funded and installed fuel cells, also powered by waste gas, have been built at four wastewater treatment plants operated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
(List of NYPA fuel cell projects).
With these fuel cells, we will have a combined installed capacity of 3.05 megawatts, making us a national leader in the operation of clean fuel cells.
The environmental benefits of fuel cells are significant. For example, our 200-kw fuel cell in Yonkers generates about 1.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, and in that time releases only 72 pounds of emissions to the environment. This compares with average emissions of about 41,000 pounds produced by coal- and oil-fueled plants generating the same amount of electricity.