Jan 15, 2007

San Francisco Fuel Cell Project Wins Approval

The members of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) approved an agreement to design, permit and build the city’s first fuel cell project at the SFPUC’s Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Once completed, expected by the end of 2007, the 600-kilowatt fuel cell will convert gases naturally generated as part of the wastewater treatment process into electricity for use by the treatment plant. The process will also reduce the plant’s need to flare or burn the waste gas, significantly reducing the plant’s emissions to the local neighborhood.

“The fuel cell project is another step towards achieving our clean energy vision for San Francisco,” said SFPUC General Manager Susan Leal. “Generating renewable power from waste gas is a win for our ratepayers, a win for the environment and a win for the neighborhood’s public health.”

The agreement authorizes Otto H. Rosentreter Company and Alliance Power to partner in designing, permitting and building a $2.2 million 600 kilowatt molten carbonate fuel cell energy generation plant at the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant, with a five year operation and maintenance agreement.

Work on the fuel cell project will begin next month, with the project funded from the City’s renewable energy project special funds (MECA, or Mayor’s Energy Conservation Account) and the SFPUC’s Power Enterprise operating funds. An additional $2.7 million rebate from the California Public Utilities Commission-mandated (CPUC) Self-Generation Investment Fund will cover the costs of purchasing the fuel cell unit and hardware. Otto H. Rosentreter Company and Alliance Power have partnered on seven other similarly sized projects in California.