Chugach To Install World's Largest Fuel Cell System

August 25, 1999 by Jeff Shepard

The US Postal Service announced that Chugach Electric Association Inc. (Anchorage, AK) will install the world's largest commercial fuel-cell system at the USPS's Anchorage Mail Processing and Distribution Facility. The system, expected to be operational early next year, will be owned and maintained by Chugach. The 200kW PC25 fuel cell power plants that make up the system are manufactured by ONSI Corp. (South Windsor, CT). Five fuel cells, connected in parallel to produce 1MW of electricity, will be the primary source of power for the Anchorage facility. Heat from the fuel cells will provide energy for space heating, increasing the overall efficiency of the Postal Service facility. The fuel cell configuration also eliminates the need to install back-up generators and associated underground fuel storage tanks.The assured-power fuel cell system is being funded in part by the USPS, US Department of Energy, Cooperative Research Network of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the Electric Power Research Institute. "Postal Service facilities are becoming extremely sensitive to power quality and reliability and to the needs of the environment," stated Dianne Horbochuck, USPS senior plant manager in Anchorage. "Facilities such as this one in Anchorage operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Power outages cause an interruption in the automatic mail processing for both incoming and outgoing mail, adding cost to our service. The fuel cell system offers an environmentally clean, proven solution for on-site generation to meet our growing power needs."