ClearEdge Power snags DOE dollars
ClearEdge Power announced Tuesday that it won $2.8 million to deploy its small-scale fuel cells in commercial buildings in California and Oregon.
The funding comes in part from a U.S. Department of Energy program to encourage fuel cell deployment and will support the installation of about 40 of the Hillsboro, Ore.-based company's fuel cells in 10 locations, including a community college, a grocery store and a hotel.
Meanwhile, the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will measure and track the fuel cells’ performance.
“We anticipate that this type of a system could reduce the fuel costs and carbon footprint of a commercial building by approximately 40 percent, compared with conventional electricity and heat use,” Mike Rinker, the lab’s research program manager, said in a statement.
ClearEdge's refrigerator-sized fuel cells turn natural gas or biogas into electricity through its proton exchange membrane technology. The cells create heat as a byproduct, which can be used for building heating or hot water. With a $56,000 price tag for a five-kilowatt fuel cell, ClearEdge has positioned itself as an option for small commercial and large residential applications. That's in comparison to Bloom Energy's fuel cell, the Bloom Box, which costs about $800,000, delivers 100 kilowatts of electricity and is a favorite of large companies like Google, eBay and Walmart.
So far, most of ClearEdge’s installed devices are in California, thanks to the state’s generous rebate program. The company also has a distribution agreement with in South Korea, and expects to have about 1,000 fuel cells installed by the end of this year in both countries combined, ClearEdge marketing chief Mike Upp told Sustainable Industries earlier this year.
The company is also hoping to tap into the utility market, Upp said. In January it won an investment from Southern California Gas Co.