NEWS

Federal Agencies Recognize Environmental Benefits of NYPA Fuel Cells

Contact
Michael Saltzman
914-390-8181
michael.saltzman@nypa.gov

June 24, 2004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE           

NEW YORK—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) was among those organizations honored Thursday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) at an industry conference in New York City for its installation late last year of eight fuel cells at four sewage treatment plants operated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP).

NYPA received a Certificate of Recognition for the fuel cells, which harness waste gas—also known as anaerobic digester gas (ADG)—to generate electricity for the sewage treatment plants. ADG is a byproduct of the waste-water treatment process.

Qualifying projects must demonstrate emerging technologies, fuel diversity or otherwise advance new markets for environmentally beneficial ways of generating electricity.

“We’re highly appreciative of the formal recognition by the EPA and DOE since it spotlights the significant role fuel cells can play for electricity production and improved air quality,” said Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “They’re also in keeping with the overall direction set by Governor George E. Pataki for increased use of clean, diverse sources of renewable power to meet New York State’s future energy needs.”

The certificate presentation came on the first day of a two-day Combined Heat and Power Conference conducted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) at the Crowne Plaza Time Square in New York City.

“Fuel cells rely on an environmentally benign chemical process in which hydrogen is extracted from whatever fuel they’re using to produce electricity without combustion, making it possible to site them at locations where the power is consumed,” said Shalom Zelingher, NYPA director, Research and Technology Development. He accepted the certificate on behalf of the Authority, along with Yan Kishinevsky, R&D program manager.   

The eight fuel cells—each 200 kilowatts (kw) —are at NYCDEP sewage-treatment plants in the Bronx (Hunts Point), in Brooklyn (Red Hook and near Starrett City), and on Staten Island (Oakwood Beach).          

Collectively, they eliminate about 170 tons of regulated emissions annually and more than 9,000 tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

The fuel cells cost approximately $13 million, with the DOE and NYSERDA providing $2-1/2 million of funding to support NYPA’s efforts.

The Power Authority gained its first experience with fuel cells in 1997, when it installed a unit at the Westchester County Wastewater Treatment Facility in Yonkers. The installation earned NYPA the 2000 Environmental Project of the Year Award from the Association of Energy Engineers.

Following the unit in Westchester, NYPA installed three other fuel cells in New York City at the Central Park Police Precinct, North Central Bronx Hospital and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium at Coney Island. Those fuel cells, unlike the ones at the wastewater treatment facilities, use natural gas instead of ADG.