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Connecticut Clean Energy Fund receives 31 fuel cell proposals

Final acceptance of projects will be made in early 2002

(Rocky Hill, Conn., November 30, 2001) — Thirty one. That’s the number of proposals the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CEF) received after it issued its Fuel Cell Initiative Request for Proposal (RFP). Nineteen. That’s the number of companies who submitted proposals.

“This high response rate clearly indicates that there is strong interest among businesses in the Northeast to demonstrate and commercialize fuel cells,” said Subhash Chandra, Ph.D., the fund’s managing director, technology. “The projects suggested in the proposals are forward-thinking and leading-edge. Because of limited funding, we have a difficult task ahead of us to decide which projects will receive support.” Participants are expected to be notified in early 2002, when contract negotiations will begin.

In total, the proposals submitted request CEF funding in the amount of nearly $60 million. However, the fund’s first year investment levels expect to amount to only $6 million, which includes $1 million from the Conservation and Load Management Fund.

Three categories of projects were solicited in the RFP:
• Commercial Application Projects, which consist of the installation of commercially-ready fuel cells in high value applications to showcase the benefits, feasibility and viability of its use.
• Demonstration Projects - Operational Performance, which consist of the installation of near-commercial fuel cell units to track performance and gather data to accelerate their commercialization.
• Demonstration Projects - Technological Improvements, to improve the efficiency or lower costs of fuel cells.

Of the proposals received, 17 are commercial application projects; nine demonstration projects — technological improvements; and five demonstration projects — operational performance. The fuel cell technology projects proposed include seven Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell (MCFC); 11 Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell (PAFC); six Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM); three Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC); and four others.

To qualify the submissions, CEF convened an evaluation team including members of the CEF staff; associates from Booz, Allen & Hamilton; independent outside consultants and associates from Connecticut Light & Power. The committee is reviewing proposals based on commerical merit, technical merit and support of CEF goals.

Across the country, fuel cell development initiatives are being driven and endorsed by major corporations, including recent announcements made by the automotive and aerospace industries. Here in Connecticut, fuel cell projects are quickly becoming a top priority within the commercial and industrial community.

“Connecticut is poised at the forefront of the fuel cell initiative thanks to the funding we have dedicated to this type of energy development,” said Chandra. “CEF is strategically committed to assist in the deployment of fuel cells and to accelerate their commercial viability.”

The Clean Energy Fund invests in enterprises and other initiatives that promote and develop sustainable markets for energy from renewables and fuel cells that will benefit ratepayers. The fund is administered by Connecticut Innovations.