International Fuel Cells' Fuel Cell System Debuts in First New England Hospital

April 12, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

International Fuel Cells Inc. (South Windsor, CT) has aided South County Hospital in Wakefield, RI, with their PC25 fuel cell system. South County has become the first hospital in New England to generate its own electricity. The fuel cell began its 24-hour operation in December 1999, producing one-third of the hospital's electricity during peak hours, and generating virtually no pollution. Hospital officials estimate the fuel cell will reduce power bills by $60,000 to $90,000 a year.

The 200kW unit PC25 system, fueled by natural gas, measures 10' x 18' and uses an electrothermal process to directly convert chemical energy from natural gas into electricity and hot water. Because the fuel cell does not burn gas, it does not generate air emissions normally associated with acid rain and smog.

The PC25 system provides an economical and reliable source of electricity, making it the best bet for health-care dollars and the environment. In addition to operating the fuel cell 24 hours a day, the hospital purchases electricity from Narragansett Electric and has three diesel generators on emergency standby.

The company is developing fuel cells for use in automobiles, and it supplies the fuel cells for all the in-orbit electrical power and drinking water for the Space Shuttle.