The fuel cell installations will bring AT&T’s total to 17.1 MW spread over 28 sites, including data centers, in California and Connecticut, making the communications company the largest non-utility customer of Bloom Energy.
Once fully operational, all of AT&T’s “Bloom Box”installations are expected to produce more than 149 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power more than 13,680 homes per year.
A so-called Bloom box, which is about the size of a parking space, contains stacked fuel cells that convert air and natural gas or biogas into electricity through a electrochemical process. Use of this power reduces carbon emissions about 50 percent compared to the grid and eliminates all sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide and other smog forming particulate emissions, Bloom Energy said.
The Bloom Box installations fit into AT&T’s three-pronged approach to energy management: alternative energy where it is cost comparable, company-wide efficiency projects and collaboration to develop best practices in energy management, AT&T said.
AT&T has deployed nearly 3.9 MW of solar installations and is working with the Rocky Mountain Institute to improve energy efficiency across the company’s 65,00 facilities in more than 60 countries. AT&T plans to share its energy efficiency results with others, as part of the 2012 Portfolio Energy Retrofit Challenge.
Separately, Verizon Wireless announced it has made a number of energy efficiency improvements, such as lighting retrofits and HVAC upgrades, as part of its six-year strategic relationship with EPA’s Energy Star, a voluntary program that promotes reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2006, Verizon introduce Energy Star tools and resources to improve efficiency within company-owned buildings. More than 100 Verizon stores have been awarded the Energy Star certification since 2008.
Verizon replaced more than 30,000 existing 50-watt and 37-watt halogen spotlights with LED lamps at locations across the US; and upgraded 338 store locations with an energy management system in 2010 and added another 174 sites the following year.