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South Windsor Fuel Cell Unveiled

(South Windsor, Conn. – Oct. 18, 2002.) After months of planning, installation and testing, the fuel cell at South Windsor High School was unveiled at a ceremony held today at the school. Town and state officials participated in the event, marking the launch of the state’s first municipal facility to be powered and heated by a fuel cell.

The South Windsor High School also will serve as a regional emergency shelter. Because the fuel cell provides heat and power independent of the existing electric grid, the high school will continue to operate in the event of a power failure. And a comprehensive fuel-cell curriculum has been developed for high school students, providing learning opportunities for students in programs that include earth sciences, chemistry/physics, and general studies.

A schematic diagram at the site of the power plant explains how natural gas is converted into electricity, and funds have been set aside for students to develop displays and presentations about fuel cell production, thus enhancing the learning experience and informing the public about fuel-cell technology. And computer monitors will allow students to track the operation of the fuel cell. UTC Fuel Cells provided engineering personnel to assist in the curriculum development and implementation.

The fuel cell installation was made possible by a funding program through the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, which is administered by Connecticut Innovations, the state’s high-technology investment arm. “This is an outstanding example of what can happen when state and local governments collaborate with the private sector to help create a cleaner environment for our children, and our children’s children,” said Arthur H. Diedrick, chairman of the Connecticut Innovations board of directors and of the CCEF advisory board. The CCEF has committed $2.3 million to fund the program, including the purchase and installation of the fuel cell at the high school. The PC25 Fuel Cell was manufactured and installed by South Windsor-based UTC Fuel Cells, a division of United Technologies Corporation.

“South Windsor is proud of its leadership role in the utilization of alternative, renewable energy sources for our community and our state,” said Town Manager Matthew B. Galligan. “The potential environmental, economic and educational benefits of this program reach into our entire community, and beyond,” he added. “And the reliable nature of fuel-cell technology significantly enhances our regional community preparedness program.”

In addition to providing heat and electricity to the high school, UTC Fuel Cells intends to utilize the project as an international demonstration site for fuel-cell technology.

The Connecticut 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 the ratepayers of Connecticut.

UTC Fuel Cells has manufactured the PC25 power plant since 1991 and has delivered more than 235 units to customers in 19 countries on five continents. The PC25 generates 200 kilowatts of electricity and provides more than 900,000 BTUs of heat per hour that can be used for space heating, domestic hot water heating, or absorption chilling and air conditioning. UTC Fuel Cells is the sole supplier of fuel cells for U.S. manned space missions.
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Connecticut Innovations
© 2002 Connecticut Clean Energy Fund