CSU campuses lead the way in exploring fuel cells as a clean, ultra-efficient way to generate energy. This technology has developed from units designed for spacecraft and vehicles to large-scale units that now power buildings and homes.

San Francisco State University and Pacific Gas and Electric demonstrate the potential of fuel cells through a project that combines two separate systems for a total of 1.6 megawatts of electrical power – enough energy to supply about 1,200 homes.

Below are a few milestones of the project.

 

Photo credit: Gino DeGrandis

Joining in the Dec. 8 ribbon cutting are Wes Morgan, energy programs manager for the CSU, Timothy Alan Simon, California PUC commissioner, Scott Loveless, manager of renewable resource development at PG&E, and SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan.

 

The room size Direct FuelCell (DFC) power plant manufactured by Fuel Cell Energy trucks into campus. This fuel cell generates 1.4 megawatts as part of the combined project.

 

Engineers inspect a second power plant by Bloom Energy. This fuel cell adds another 200 kilowatts to the combined project.

 

Work finishes on a system designed to capture the heat from the fuel cells for use on campus. This heating system will warm campus buildings, at an estimated SFSU utilities savings of $250,000 per year.

 

Underground pipes connect water heated by the fuel cells to campus supply lines.

 

A PG&E guide shows visitors the inside of the fuel cell plant.

 

The completed fuel cell assembly is proudly on display behind large glass windows, giving the SFSU community a glimpse of cutting-edge energy generating technology.

 

Students from the Engineering Department demonstrate the educational touch-screen kiosk outside the fuel cell plant. The audio-visual presentation explains how fuel cells generate electricity.

“Appropriately, this fuel cell plant will itself become a research and learning center for our faculty and students,” said Corrigan.