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International Fuel Cells has announced the sale of a fuel cell system that will power a recreational centre in Woki...
International Fuel Cells has announced the sale of a fuel cell system that will power a recreational centre in Woking, Surrey. This will be the first commercial

fuel cell to operate in the UK.

The 200-kilowatt PC25 system will be installed at Woking Park and will

provide electricity and heat for the pool in the park recreational centre

as well as electricity to light the park. In the summer, the heat will be

used to meet the recreational centre's air conditioning, cooling and

dehumidification requirements via heat-fired absorption cooling. The PC25

produces 900,000 Btus of heat.

The PC25 is part of a larger, combined heat and power system that will

include a 1.35 megawatt reciprocating engine and solar photovoltaic cells,

which will be provided by other vendors.

'Installing a fuel cell is a logical part of our ongoing efforts to promote

and use sustainable energy sources,' said Alan Jones, Woking BC's energy services

manager. 'We are proud to be the first site in the UK to employ

fuel cell technology in everyday use.'

Mr Jones said that Woking BC is the only local authority in the

UK to supply electricity directly to customers on private wire networks,

which enable the council to make better use of green technologies such as

fuel cells by maximising the true value of green electricity rather than

selling the electricity to the grid at a far lower price.

Mr Jones said that this innovative feature also enables the council to

continue to supply electricity as well as heat and cooling in island

generation mode at full load in the event of a failure of the national

grid, thus providing further security of supply to customers.

Jones said this is only possible on private wire networks and this project

will be the first example of a fuel cell operating as part of such a


The council intends to make the fuel cell visible to the public and to

provide information for visitors on how the power plant operates. The fuel

cell system is scheduled to begin operating by year-end.

The council this year became the first local authority to win

Britain's most coveted commercial award, the Queen's Award for Enterprise,

in recognition of its groundbreaking approach to local sustainable

community energy systems and the practical steps it is taking locally to

tackle global warming.

A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen, or

hydrogen-rich fuel, and oxygen to produce electricity, heat and water. Fuel

cells operate without combustion, making them almost pollution-free. While

a traditional generating system produces as much as 25 pounds of pollutants

to generate 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, the PC25 power plant

produces less than an ounce.

International Fuel Cells is the sole supplier of fuel cells for US manned space

missions and the only company currently producing a commercially available

fuel cell power plant.

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