Up and running, UB’s new microgrid provides clean, continuous power

By supplying nonstop power, microgrid can serve Greater Bridgeport in the event of an emergency

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The University of Bridgeport (UB) announced today the completion of a new fuel-cell microgrid on campus that will supply continuous, environmentally clean power to critical campus facilities that serve Greater Bridgeport during emergencies.

The 1.4-megawatt fuel cell power plant supplies affordable energy to the campus electrical-distribution system, which can be vulnerable to outages during emergencies. In the event that the grid is disturbed, the new fuel cell automatically begins to operate independently, ensuring that UB facilities, including Marina Dining Hall and Wheeler Recreation Center, receive uninterrupted power. Those campus buildings are designated to shelter and serve the campus and greater local community during a crisis.

Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the State of Connecticut administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

“This is a win-win for all,” said UB President Neil A. Salonen. “The much-anticipated installation of the new fuel cell on campus is cutting our energy costs, uses clean and efficient fuel cells that protect our students and the environment, and as a designated community shelter, provides critical energy to all.”

Fuel cell power plant installations have become particularly appealing to many other universities for a number of reasons, including:

    • Operating cost reductions from the highly efficient on-site power generation process;
    • Combined heat and power further enhance economics and support sustainability initiatives;
    • Fuel cells provide continuous power that is not dependent on the time of day or weather
    • The quiet operation of fuel cell power plants, combined with modest space requirements and clean air, enable the plants to be located next to occupied buildings.

Work on the UB microgrid began in 2014, when the University entered into a long-term agreement with FuelCell Energy to purchase power from the fuel-cell installation as it is generated. The agreement’s competitive pricing drove down operation costs to generate an estimated $300,000 in savings annually for UB without any capital investment. Fuel Cell Energy operates and maintains the micro-grid and the fuel-cell power plant.

A/Z Corporation, of North Stonington, CT, designed and constructed modifications to UB’s medium-voltage electrical-distribution system and implemented a digital micro-grid control system based on a Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) controller. The SEL micro-grid controller automates the system, which detects a power outage, divorces from the UI grid, and switches to fuel cell power.  Buildings are completely shut off and then brought back on under the micro grid power once the fuel cell is ready to be brought on.

DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said, “The University of Bridgeport microgrid project is a perfect example of the value of our microgrid grant program. With the support of funding we have provided, this microgrid helps power the campus with reliable and affordable power on a 24/7 basis and also keeps critical faculties up and running to serve the campus and larger community in the event of a power outage.”

Added FuelCell Energy President and CEO Chip Battone: “Our comprehensive micro-grid solution is unique in the industry as we design, construct and operate the fuel-cell microgrid on behalf of our customers. Fuel cells are compelling for micro-grids as they are clean, affordable, and unlike intermittent technologies, fuel cells supply continual power avoiding the need for peaking power support for back-up that intermittent technologies require to ensure power is available if the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.”

About the University of Bridgeport The University of Bridgeport offers career-oriented undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees and award-winning academic programs in a culturally diverse learning environment that prepares graduates for leadership in an increasingly interconnected world. There are 400 full- and part-time faculty members, including Fulbright Scholars, National Science Foundation Fellows, Ford Fellows, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellows, American Council for Learned Societies Scholars, and Phi Beta Kappa Scholars. The University is independent and non-sectarian. For more, please visit www.bridgeport.edu.

About AZ Corporation A/Z Corporation is a recognized leader in design, construction and maintenance services. We maintain our corporate headquarters in North Stonington, CT and additional offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. A/Z is a privately held, family-owned company with approximately 475 employees who have supported more than one billion dollars in work over the past five years for clients across a broad spectrum of technically complex and logistically challenging industries. Please visit a-zcorp.com for more information.

About FuelCell Energy FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ: FCEL) delivers efficient, affordable and clean solutions for the supply, recovery and storage of energy. We design, manufacture, undertake project development, install, operate and maintain megawatt-scale fuel cell systems, serving utilities, industrial and large municipal power users with solutions that include both utility-scale and on-site power generation, carbon capture, local hydrogen production for transportation and industry, and long duration energy storage.  With SureSource™ installations on three continents and millions of megawatt hours of ultra-clean power produced, FuelCell Energy is a global leader with environmentally responsible power solutions.  For more, go to www.fuelcellenergy.com.

Media contacts:

Leslie Geary, Director of Communications, University of Bridgeport, (203) 576-4625, lgeary@bridgeport.edu

Dennis Schain, Communications Director, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, (860) 424-3110-2890, dennis.schain@ct.gov

Lisa Carberg, Development & Marketing Specialist, A/Z Corporation, (860) 326-2688, lcarberg@a-zcorp.com

Kurt Goddard, VP Investor Relations, FuelCell Energy, Inc., (203) 830-7494, ir@fce.com

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