Furniture giant Ikea has added fuel cell technology to a store in Connecticut and expects it to deliver about 50% of the power needed for the store to operate. Though the retailer already operates fuel cell systems at five of its California stores, the new installation at its New Haven, Conn., facility represents the first on the east coast, according to SolarIndustryMag.com.
The energy system converts natural gas into clean electricity using a highly efficient electrochemical reaction without combustion.
Bloom Energy, a California-based clean energy company, created this type of fuel cell system that has helped Ikea reduce expenses and pollution related to traditional electricity usage.
An Ikea store manager says the move will cut the store’s energy costs in half and deliver about 50% of the power the store needs to operate, according to Connecticut’s News 8.
The 250-kW system will produce more than 2 million kWh of electricity annually for the store. Ikea’s fuel cell reliance, in addition to the retailer’s ongoing use of solar and wind power, reflects the company’s global goal to be energy independent by 2020.
The use of fuel cell systems for energy production is not only helping retailers cut costs, it’s also aiding in the reduction of air pollutants. The fuel cell system currently at use in Ikea’s San Diego store produces 1.65 kWh of electricity annually for the store, the equivalent of reducing 877 tons of carbon dioxide.
Super Micro Computer, Inc., a provider of sustainable computing solutions, has opened a distribution center in Silicon Valley that, like Ikea, draws its energy from on-site fuel cell electricity generation.
Super Micro’s new facility will generate savings of more than $30 million in energy costs over 10 years and avoid nearly 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide release each year, according to Data Center Dynamics.
“This project highlights many of the benefits of clean distributed energy, enabling a multi-use campus to generate electricity on-site and protect its operations from grid disruptions, all while reducing operating expenses and reducing criteria pollutants,” said KR Sridhar, founder, chairman and CEO of Bloom Energy.