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.