Southern, AMEA, FuelCell Energy and Mercedes-Benz - Clean Energy OptionsOctober 11, 2000 by Jeff Shepard
Southern Company (Atlanta, GA), Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (Montgomery, AL), FuelCell Energy (Danbury, CT) and Mercedes-Benz have joined in a historic partnership to field test an environmentally responsible power generation technology as part of the process of bringing clean energy options to the marketplace.The power plant will utilize FuelCell Energy's Direct FuelCell stack, converting pipeline natural gas to electricity at an efficiency of about 50 percent, compared with the 33 percent for conventional generation. The plant will feed the Mercedes-Benz production facility power distribution system. In addition, the entire power plant will be skid-mounted, making it easy to transport to different locations for additional demonstrations.Southern Company, AMEA and FuelCell Energy will provide funding for the fuel cell power plant, and Southern Company will serve as project manager. MBUSI will provide the resources and venue for the demonstration site to simulate actual field operating conditions during the projects.The fuel cell plant is expected to be fully operational by Spring 2001. It will operate for at least one year, and the companies may agree to continue to operate the project. Bob Claussen, general manager of AMEA, commented, "Today's groundbreaking continues one of the most exciting undertakings and advancements in the electric utility industry. The success of, and the information gathered from, this project will benefit our members and provide them with the ability to deliver the cleanest, most efficient electric power to their customers."