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Supermarket Installs 400-kW Fuel Cell

A new Albertsons supermarket will be one of the first in California to generate nearly 90 percent of its electricity requirements with an on-site 400-kilowatt fuel cell. The project is estimated to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 478 metric tons each year compared to California’s non-baseload power plants.

Fuel cells are one of the cleanest and quietest energy-generation sources available and meet the strictest U.S. emissions standards, says Albertsons. They are also highly energy-efficient and virtually pollution-free.

Byproduct heat from the fuel cell process will be captured and used to warm water used in the store, heat the store when necessary and power a chiller to help cool the refrigerated food, resulting in an overall energy efficiency of approximately 60 percent, nearly twice the efficiency of the U.S. electrical grid, according to the supermarket.

“With the assistance of UTC Power’s fuel cell, it’s our first store that significantly reduces its burden on the power grid,” says Rick Crandall, director of environmental stewardship at Albertsons.

In addition, the store will continue to operate even if there is a power outage, avoiding food spoilage and ensuring a reliable food supply during emergencies.

The PureCell Model 400 fuel cell is supplied by UTC Power. Neal Montany, director for the UTC Power stationary fuel cell business says the company sees strong interest in the supermarket sector for fuel cells because they need power around the clock.

Frozen food processing plants like Carla’s Pasta are also turning to fuel cell power for 24/7 reliable power. They also expect the systems to cut their fuel costs and lower their carbon footprint.

The 55,000-square-foot environmentally friendly Albertsons store, which opens September 1, also incorporates several other energy-efficient features. These include LED lighting in the dairy and frozen food doors that reduce energy consumption by more than 50 to 65 percent, and photo sensors in 33 skylights to measure the amount of daylight in order to adjust the electric light levels accordingly.

The store also uses night curtains, which are pulled over all open cold cases in the evening to seal in the cool air. This reduces spoilage and energy costs by up to 25 percent, says Albertsons. The store also installed water-saving faucets and fixtures in the restrooms to reduce the amount of water use by more than 45 percent.

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6 thoughts on “Supermarket Installs 400-kW Fuel Cell

  1. Fuel Cells are only as green as the fuel used to power them. In what way is the hydrogen (I’m assuming it’s a hydrogen fuel cell) produced?

    Not to be unpleasant but I would expect a website called environmental leader to address this in the article.

  2. Just like what Mr. Dahl mentioned in the comments is that all fuel cells must be fed by some other form of fuel, which means it is not a 100% self sufficient. Although it is not reliant upon the grid which runs on fossil fuels, it still produces carbon emissions from the use of natural gases. The true form of hydrogen fuel cell will produce its own electricity without relying on any fuel and derive the hydrogen from water. We have a suppler with this technology which has gone beyond the R&D stages and already started to develop it for mass Utility scale power. But it is wonderful to see many corporations actively moving towards being grid positive and in the long run companies that follow technology trends will improve their financial expenditures. It is imperative that big companies like Albertson’s to continue in the greatest investment the can put their money on, which will pay for itself and soon increase their profits and expansion of the corporation as a whole. Thumbs up for Albertson’s for being a positive risk taker like Mr. Bill Gate!

  3. Saw this store on the news because during the SoCal blackout they had power, remained open and didn’t lose any food to spoilage. I had no idea this store had those capabilities. It’s about 3 miles from my house in San Diego, specifically on Balboa Ave and Genessee Ave. in an area called Clairmont Mesa.

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