Los Angeles Dedicates New Fuel Cell Power Plant

September 21, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

The City of Los Angeles expanded the city's supply of clean, efficient and renewable energy by adding a 250kW Direct FuelCell® power plant to the Los Angeles power grid that will operate with biogas fuel generated by the Terminal Island Treatment Plant in San Pedro. The plant will represent one of the first high-efficiency fuel cell plants in the nation to utilize renewable fuel.

Manufactured by FuelCell Energy, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Terminal Island Fuel Cell Power Plant uses up to 50 percent less fuel per kilowatt-hour than the average conventional power plant and produces nearly zero emissions of pollutants. The LADWP and the Los Angeles Department of Public Works/Bureau of Sanitation agreed to install the fuel cell within the Terminal Island Treatment Plant so that it can operate off biogas produced through the wastewater treatment process.

While the fuel cell currently operates with natural gas, LADWP and Bureau of Sanitation plan to develop a gas-processing treatment unit that will clean and process the biogas so that it will be compatible with the requirements of the fuel cell. LADWP expects the fuel cell to be operating on the digester gas by next summer.