NYPA Energizes New York Aquarium With Fuel Cell

Brian Warner

May 15, 2002


BROOKLYN—For nearly 105 years, the New York Aquarium has embraced innovations enabling visitors to experience the world’s aquatic wildlife.  Today, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the aquarium’s operators, acknowledged the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) assistance as it deploys innovative clean energy technology to help meet the aquarium’s power needs.

A clean energy fuel cell, installed at the aquarium, will produce electricity through a non-combustion chemical process which combines hydrogen and oxygen.

 “Given its proud history, the New York Aquarium remains consistent with its environmental mission by seeking out a clean energy source, said NYPA President and CEO Eugene W. Zeltmann.

“Under the leadership of Governor George Pataki, NYPA has more than doubled its annual investment in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies. This fuel cell helps meet two of Governor Pataki’s important objectives – cleaner air and a reliable, economical electricity supply for all New Yorkers,” Zeltmann said.

 “It is important for the New York Aquarium, as part of the Wildlife Conservation Society, to find ways to protect the environment by conserving energy and using clean energy sources,” said New York Aquarium Director Dr. Paul Boyle.

“The New York Aquarium is one of Brooklyn’s jewels as well as a major educational resource for our young people.  Adding new clean energy technology here helps our environment while protecting this living institution,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

The Aquarium’s fuel cell is the first installed in Brooklyn by the Power Authority. The PC25TM fuel cell developed by UTC Fuel Cells generates 200 kilowatts of electricity and 700,000 Btu of heat while producing virtually no pollution.  Fueled by natural gas, the fuel cell will supply approximately 20 percent of the aquarium’s daily requirements.  The heat from the fuel cell will be used to preheat hot water for the administration building boiler and support system tanks.

With species ranging from beluga whales, walruses, sea otters, sharks, penguins and seals, the aquarium must operate an elaborate water storage and filtration system 24 hours a day.

Funding for the $1.1 million project was a collaborative effort between the New York Power Authority, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President.  DOE funding of $200,000 was provided through an $800,000 grant awarded to the Power Authority in the late 1990’s to install four fuel cells in the New York metropolitan area.  The Borough President’s Office provided $100,000.  NYPA provided the remainder of the funding from its long-term energy services agreement with the City of New York.

NYPA has installed fuel cells at the New York Police Department Central Park Precinct, the North Central Bronx Hospital and Yonkers Wastewater Treatment Plant, the world’s first fueled by the waste gases produced through the wastewater cleansing process.

Situated on 14 acres in Coney Island, the New York Aquarium is home to over 350 species of aquatic wildlife and over 8,000 specimens. The Aquarium continues its mission to raise public awareness about issues facing the ocean and its inhabitants with its special exhibits, public events and research.

The New York Power Authority is the nation’s largest state-owned utility supplying about a quarter of the state’s energy needs. In the New York City metropolitan region, NYPA electricity serves the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York City Housing Authority, the Port Authority, the New York State Office of General Services, the Javits Convention Center and the City of New York. NYPA also provides energy efficiency assistance and other customized services to assist its customers to reduce energy costs.