Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cutting Edge Fuel Cell Technology Providing Roosevelt Island's Octagon Building With Electricity Using Hydrogen, Oxygen & Natural Gas - Here's How It's Done

Roosevelt Island is again demonstrating how it is at the forefront of using new technology for urban planning purposes. This time it involves the use of fuel cells to provide electricity for residential apartment buildings.

Image Of Octagon Fuel Cell on Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island's Octagon Building developer Bruce Becker spoke on the future of electricity generation in the United States and the use of hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell technology in residential apartment buildings at this week's Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Conference. According to American Banking & Marketing News:
... Becker + Becker has already purchased and installed two PureCell® Model 400 Systems.  One system is installed at 360 State Street, a 500-unit LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified project in New Haven, Conn., making the facility the first large-scale mixed-use residential building to generate a majority of its own power on-site with a fuel cell. Another PureCell System is generating power and thermal energy at the Octagon, a 500-unit LEED Silver-certified upscale residential building on Roosevelt Island, N.Y.

Bruce Becker said, “We are proud to pioneer the fuel cell revolution in multi-family development, powering the first 1,000 homes with UTC Power’s Model 400 System.  We could not have achieved this incredible feat without the innovation and perseverance of our architecture and engineering team, as well as the policy and financial support of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority and the Multi-Employer Property Trust.”...
Here's an explanation of how Roosevelt Island's $3 million Octagon Fuel Cell (including subsidies and $1 million grant from NYSERDA) works

Image Of Octagon Fuel Cell on Roosevelt Island

 using hydrogen, oxygen and natural gas.

The Octagon, A Case Study for Fuel Cells in Multi-Family Buildings from Kavanagh Productions Inc on Vimeo.

UPDATE 10 PM: A Reader comments:
 The fuel cell is on the other side of the tennis court behind the bus stop. The picture you have is part of the original HVAC system for the building.
RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin adds:
I am really excited about alternate energy sources like the fuel cell project at the Octagon and Verdant's tidal energy project. I have been working with both groups to see if we can use both of these power sources to power other areas of the island like Motorgate, Sportspark and possibly other residential buildings.

By the late spring we will know how much energy the fuel cell produces and hopefully work with the State and City government to overcome any regulatory hurdles to use the excess energy produced or perhaps install our own. Verdant has shown interest in powering areas of the island like Motorgate and perhaps even more depending on the amount of energy their project produces. This could eventually power electric car charging stations for both resident and RIOC vehicles with zero emission energy.

Electricity on the island is not only an environmental issue, it is an affordable housing issue as many residents rely on expensive electric heat. If Roosevelt Island can use its own clean and inexpensive energy sources, we can pass on that savings to the residents continuing our commitment to affordable housing. Once again, Roosevelt Island is at the forefront of clean energy, technology, and urban planning. As the Chair of the Operations Committee at RIOC, I am very excited to see the Island lead the way.


Anonymous said...

Your picture is not of the fuel cell.


Are you sure the picture is not of the fuel cell? I was at the Octagon this afternoon and was told by the Concierge it was the fuel cell.

If it was not the fuel cell, do you know where it is and what it is in the picture?

Anonymous said...

The fuel cell is on the other side of the tennis court behind the bus stop. The picture you have is part of the original HVAC system for the building.

Trevre said...

It's not like there is a lot to see in a fuel cell anyways, it is basically going to look like a big metal box covered with whatever the architects thought would look good. While it is cool that we have these "research projects" on the island they are just that and probably won't be economical for the next 10-20 years. And fuel cells still require fuel, hydrogen make from dinosaurs mostly. Zero emission energy only exists in politics and lala land.

In the mean time there is Big Allis, which is actually a very economical, efficient, and clean power plant. It runs off natural gas (one of the cheapest, cleanest most abundant fuels available) and oil. You would need thousands of fuel cells to replace just one tradition combined cycle power plant.