Location: New York City Aquarium, 502 Surf Avenue, Coney Island, N.Y.
Host: New York City Wildlife Conservation Society
Rating: 200 kw
Installation Date: December 2001
Manufacturer: United Technologies Fuel Cells Corporation
No. of Units: 1
Technology: Phosphoric Acid
Fuel: Natural Gas
The century-old New York Aquarium, operated close to the Brooklyn waterfront by the Wildlife Conservation Society, has adopted one of the newest and most innovative clean energy technologies to help meet its growing needs.
A Power Authority-installed fuel cell installed in 2001 produces electricity for the aquarium through a non-combustion chemical process that combines hydrogen and oxygen.
The process is in harmony with the aquarium’s environmentally sensitive mission. Situated on 14 acres in Coney Island, the aquarium aims to raise public awareness about issues facing the ocean and its inhabitants with special exhibits, public events and research.
The fuel cell helps meet two of Gov. George E. Pataki’s important priorities: cleaner air and a reliable, economical electricity supply for New Yorkers.
The aquarium’s fuel cell, the first installed in Brooklyn by NYPA, was developed by UTC Fuel Cells and generates 200 kilowatts of electricity, along with 700,000 Btu of heat, while producing virtually no pollution. Fueled by natural gas, the unit will supply about 20 percent of the aquarium’s daily requirements. The fuel cell’s heat will be used to preheat hot water for an aquarium boiler and support-system tanks.
With more than 350 species of aquatic wildlife and over 8,000 specimens, ranging from beluga whales to walruses, sea otters, sharks, penguins and seals, the facility 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 NYPA, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President. DOE funding of $200,000 was provided through an $800,000 grant awarded to NYPA in the late 1990s 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 as part of its long-term energy services agreement with the City of New York.