Friday, May 27, 2011

First Fuel Cell Powering NYC Residential Building Installed at Roosevelt Island's Octagon Building Providing Electricity, Heat and Hot Water - Roosevelt Island Is Winning The Future

Image of Octagon Fuel Cell

A previous post reported on Roosevelt Island Octagon developer Bruce Becker's plan to deliver electricity to Octagon residents by using a hydrogen/oxygen/natural gas fuel cell. Yesterday, Mr. Becker and his Octagon team held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of the Fuel Cell.

An Octagon spokesperson reports on the Fuel Cell:
It's on now! It's providing electricity, heat and hot water to the entire building including all the residents.
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Director Jonathan Kalkin reacts to yesterday's Octagon Fuel Cell Ceremony by Tweeting:
What does the rest on of NYC do today. Well Roosevelt Island wins the future. TODAY we just did the ribbon cutting on our first FUEL CELL!!!!
Globe Street reported on yesterday's Octagon Fuel Cell Ceremony at Roosevelt Island:
Out of the 16 million multifamily buildings throughout the US, only two of them have their own large capacity “green” fuel cells. The newest of the two is located at the Octagon on Roosevelt Island, a stone’s throw away from Manhattan. The luxury 500-unit LEED-certified rental building is now powered by a 400-kilowatt fuel cell, which was unveiled to the public at a ceremony on Thursday morning.

The cell, developed by architecture and development firm Becker + Becker and manufactured by United Technologies Power, provides 1.7 million btu/hour of heat for combined power and heat applications, in addition to 400kW of sustained power. The current largest residential fuel cell is located at 360 State St. in New Haven, CT....
Here's an explanation as to how the fuel cell works to provide electricity.

You Tube Video Of Octagon Fuel Cell Case Study

Octagon developer Bruce Becker made the following remarks

at yesterday's ribbon cutting ceremony:
Good morning. I’m Bruce Becker, and welcome to the Octagon’s Fuel Cell Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. I’m delighted that we have such a great turn out to celebrate this monumental achievement in clean energy for Roosevelt Island, the city and State of New York.

We’re thrilled to have Homer Purcell from UTC here today, the manufacturer of the Fuel Cell, along with Peter Douglas, Director of R&D for NYSERDA, which is providing a grant to help fund its purchase, Jim Landau of Bentall-Kennedy representing the pension fund MEPT, that is footing the bill for the balance of its costs, and Leslie Torres of RIOC, a constant advocate of progressive energy and smart growth policy on Roosevelt Island.


I want to express my sincere gratitude too, to the entire the design and construction team, including our engineers from LN Consulting here with us today, our general contractor, TryState Mechanical and the many Union contractors responsible for installing the fuel cell and combined heat and power components within the building; as well the Octagon’s stellar building management staff who have expertly weathered every challenge presented throughout installation while keeping all of our residents happy, informed, and educated about their new cleaner form of energy distribution. I’d also like to thank Con Edison and the NY State Public Service Commission; without their forward-thinking position on clean energy policy in this city and State, our fuel cell wouldn’t be here today.

To give a little background on our team, this is MEPT, Becker +Becker, LN Consulting, and UTC Power’s second fuel cell collaboration. In fact just one year ago, almost to the day, we installed the world’s first fuel cell together to power a 500- unit multifamily building in New Haven CT. Today as we relieve another 500 units for the electric grid, we’re particularly proud to claim our team’s success in powering the first 1000 homes with clean on-site distributed generation.

I hope the success of our projects will pave the way for energy innovation and a reduction of fossil fuel dependency in New York and beyond. We live in a country where 77% of all electricity produced is used to operate buildings, and where buildings are responsible for nearly half of all carbon emissions. Here we have a box which can fit in the size of a parking space; can provide a clean, reliable, combustion- free source of power and heat to supply our entire building; at efficiency levels greatly exceeding traditional grid power, and I wonder why with over 16 million multi-family housing units in the country, this is only the second application of this technology, which has been around for decades?

With the Octagon, we’ve made strides towards improving this statistic in New York. Let’s hope our story can reach the many other building owners, developers, engineers, and public officials responsible for our country’s existing and future built environment to foster a new vision for sustainable development, where on-site distributed generation is the norm not a novelty.
Fuel Cell Works reports on the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) incentive program for fuel cell use and reports that:
... a 400 kilowatt system installed at the 500-apartment Octagon complex on Roosevelt Island in New York City cost $2.4 million and is about the size of a small truck....
NYSERDA's Director of Research and Development, Peter Douglas,

attended the Octagon Fuel Cell Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and commented:
Good morning, thank you Bruce (Bruce Becker from Becker and Becker Associates). It’s a pleasure to join you here today to unveil this very exciting project, and to recognize a valuable partner of NYSERDA’s for making a significant contribution to the energy future of the State of New York. The new combined heat and power fuel cell system will cut energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide more secure and reliable power back up for heating and cooling services.

In layman’s terms, if the grid happens to go down, the natural gas fired fuel cell keeps working. Not only does the Octagon save valuable dollars and use less power from the grid - they are practicing environmental stewardship through a reduction in emissions, and can provide electric power, heat and hot water to the building.

CHP systems typically achieve overall energy efficiencies of 50% to 70% a dramatic improvement over the average 33% efficiency of conventional fossil-fueled power plants. Higher efficiencies reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas associated with climate change. In addition to reducing air pollution, CHP conserves our limited fossil fuel resources, thereby increasing our nation's energy self- sufficiency.

NYSERDA is pleased to provide $1.2M as a result of a competitive selection process for this incredibly worthwhile and groundbreaking project, which demonstrates the commitment and vision we share with (Gov.Cuomo) Chairman Brown of the Public Service Commission to administer energy efficiency and clean energy programs on behalf of NY ratepayers to ensure that these leading edge projects become reality.

Distributed generation systems increase the overall efficiency associated with electric power generation and distribution by producing the power on-site, making beneficial use of the byproduct heat on-site and avoiding transmission losses associated with central generation. The increased efficiency reduces green-house gases and criteria pollutants. The local production of power also contributes to grid reliability by reducing demand.

NYSERDA clearly recognizes that realizing the total DG-CHP potential and reaping the ensuing benefits will necessitate demonstrating DG resources on the grid to manage peak demand, improve power quality, alleviate Transmission & Distribution load pocket constraints, and defer distribution system upgrades. Simply stated, the success of DG depends on finding applications that benefit both the electric utility and the end-user or host site, and today’s project is a perfect example of that winning combination.

Over the past 10 years, NYSERDA’s investments of more than $100 million for CHP have helped industrial, commercial, institutional and multifamily residences implement this vibrant technology to cut their energy costs and decrease their energy use.

During this time, NYSERDA has amassed the most comprehensive repository of publicly-available CHP performance data in the nation, and this is an important tool for raising awareness about the capabilities and value of CHP.

CHP projects will help decrease energy use and help New York achieve the ambitious energy reduction goals New York has targeted under the 45 by 15 initiative to increase our energy efficiency(15% off 1993 e), and stimulate the production of renewable energy(30% rps) , and to increase our energy security, improve our environment, and create economic opportunity.

The Octagon Park Apartments are a shining example of what an organization can achieve when it adopts, as a corporate policy, both energy efficiency, distributed generation, and renewable energy as integral resources. Through hard work and a keen eye for opportunity, they have shown what is possible, and NYSERDA is proud to have partnered with them to assist in achieving their energy efficiency and reliability goals.

I congratulate the Octagon Park Apartments for its leadership and initiative. Their efforts will help reduce their energy use, and is an example of the contributions that are necessary for New York to achieve the ambitious energy reduction goals established under 45 by 15. Reducing our overall load through energy efficiency, and stimulating the growth of renewable energy generation are the platforms of 45 by 15; and this project is another step forward in achieving our collective goals. Thank you.
More information on financial incentives for the installation and operation of fuel cells from NYSERDA here.

The Octagon Fuel Cell is just another example of Roosevelt Island at the forefront of using new technology for urban planning purposes.

Here's an interesting article from Tech President on Roosevelt Island's use of new technology 
Bright Lights, Small City: Is Tiny Roosevelt Island a Microcosm of Urban Innovation's Future?


Anonymous said...

Wake me up when the entire buikding goes off the grid and is powered by alternative power sources only. A 400kW fuel cell makes a small dent into the power requirements of a building like the Octagon, especially now that it's air conditioning season in NYC. It is a good start, though. If only it would also come with an awareness campaign to be aware of your individual power consumption.

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Fabianni Andrea Builes said...

I moved to NYC from Miami... this fuel cell technology was a HUGE reason why I moved to the Octagon.... which of course now sits in darkness!!!!

Krystelle32 said...

Well I haven't visited this place but I think its still ok!

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