The proven ability of Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) power plants to utilize on-site biogas as a fuel source provides a solution for generating carbon-neutral and environmentally friendly power and heat. These attributes provide a compelling solution to the needs of Microsoft Corporation for low-carbon on-site power generation for their data centers. As part of a project with the State of Wyoming, Microsoft is buying a DFC plant to operate on renewable biogas generated by a wastewater treatment facility and to power an adjacent data center. Data centers represent a large potential market for efficient and ultra-clean fuel cell power plants.
California and Europe
The State of California recently adopted AB32, a cap-and-trade program to minimize the emission of greenhouse gases. This legislation is expected to drive demand for fuel cell power plants as facilities with combustion based power generation, heating and/or cooling can reduce or eliminate their compliance costs by deploying fuel cells. Fuel cells operating on either clean natural gas or renewable biogas are excluded from the compliance obligation under the program.
FuelCell Energy Solutions, GmbH (FCES), the German based engineering, manufacturing, sales, and service business for the European market, announced another installation in a London, England. The London installation is a high visibility office development. The low carbon footprint and virtual lack of pollutants in the fuel cell power plant were primary contributors to obtaining the contract.
Versa Power acquisition
In December 2012, the Company acquired the remaining 61 percent ownership position of Versa Power Systems, Inc. (Versa), a leading global developer of solid oxide fuel cell technology (SOFC) used for power generation and storage. The Versa SOFC technology is incorporated in programs involving a broad range of leading global companies including the Boeing Company. The potential market opportunity for the SOFC technology is with sub-megawatt applications for customers that need on-site power generation in either combined heat and power or electric-only configurations. The DFC® product line utilizes carbonate technology and is well-suited for the megawatt class market as the technology and the economics scale very well with greater size. SOFC technology is complementary and will target adjacent market opportunities in the sub-megawatt market, such as commercial buildings and high rise residential complexes. FuelCell Energy is currently in advanced discussion with several potential global partners to commercialize the SOFC technology.