The Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and FuelCell Energy of Danbury, Connecticut, completed their combined heat and power (CHP) partnership project at FuelCell Energy’s Torrington, Connecticut, manufacturing plant. In addition to the generation of heat and power exceeding 75 percent efficiency, this unique CHP system also provides a stream of high purity hydrogen for use in manufacturing operations.
Hydrogen-rich gas mixtures are commonly used to protect metal surfaces during manufacturing. The Direct FuelCell power plant uses natural gas to generate electricity and process heat for manufacturing and provides facility heat and hot water, and the hydrogen needed to make a protective atmosphere for subsequent fuel cell manufacturing.
According to the Advanced Manufacturing Office, the tri-gen technology demonstrates efficient power and heat production combined with on-site hydrogen production and has the potential to find applications in many process industries that use a reducing atmosphere for manufacturing.