Written by Ed Osborn
Willimantic, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University has a longstanding commitment to energy conservation and sustainability that dates back nearly two decades. Today, Eastern is partnering with UTC Power of South Windsor, Conn., and the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), on a project that is increasing energy efficiency at the University.
Under a 10-year Energy Services Agreement (ESA), UTC Power has furnished and installed a PureCell system combined heat and power fuel cell at Eastern's Science Building, made possible by a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant through CEFIA.
The PureCell system, a stationary phosphoric acid fuel cell, produces 400 kilowatts of continuous electric power while generating usable by-product heat. Eastern will use 100 percent of the energy produced by the fuel cell system, which was installed earlier this year on the west side of Eastern's Science Building, to provide a majority of the power required for the Science Building, while maximizing the use of the heat output available. Supplemental heat generated by the operation of the fuel cell will be utilized by Eastern's infrastructure. With effective utilization of the thermal output, overall system efficiencies of up to 90 percent are possible -- more than double that of traditional power sources.
"We have a campus-wide commitment to sustainability at Eastern, evidenced by campus conservation programs, the sustainable energy studies curriculum, and our outreach across Connecticut in support of local energy efficiency efforts," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "We are delighted to work with CEFIA and UTC Power on a fuel cell generating facility that will provide clean, reliable and affordable energy to the University."
UTC Power, CEFIA and Eastern officials, along with other guests, will formally dedicate the fuel cell during a brief ceremony on Oct. 4 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on site.
"We are thrilled that our Connecticut-grown fuel cell technology is helping Eastern build upon its commitment to energy conservation and sustainability with installation of a PureCell system on campus," said Joe Triompo, vice president and general manager of UTC Power. "Our PureCell system is a great fit for Eastern because it delivers efficient, affordable energy to the University, while reducing the impact on the environment."
By generating and using power on-site with a PureCell system, Eastern will prevent the release of more than 1,356 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually - the equivalent of planting more than 313 acres of trees. The reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions compared to a conventional power plant is equal to the environmental benefit of removing more than 136 cars from the road. In addition to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the PureCell system saves nearly 3.8 million gallons of water each year.
"We are pleased to have provided support in partnership with Eastern and UTC Power," stated Bryan Garcia, President of CEFIA. "The fuel cell at Eastern provides a clean and reliable source of energy and an opportunity for students and faculty both today and for years to come to realize the benefits of distributed generation."
Other examples of Eastern's commitment to sustainability can be found throughout the campus. The Science Building is LEED Silver Certified for its use of gray water to irrigate and its many other green features, and three of Eastern's residence halls are LEED Certified. In addition, a geothermal system provides heat and air conditioning to the 62,973-square-foot High Rise residence hall, the largest geothermal-heated building in Connecticut. The campus also generates 6.2 kilowatts from photovoltaic solar panels to light bus shelters, trash disposal areas and building perimeter lighting.
In addition, dual-fuel burning capability in Eastern's heating plants allows the University to switch from gas to oil and vice versa based on prices and/or the requirements of its gas utility agreement. Water-saving features exist on a number of showers, toilets and urinals. Finally, an energy-monitoring system analyzes energy usage for each building, and can automatically reduce electricity usage through preprogrammed initiatives, to reduce peak demand and energy costs.
Eastern is also home to the Institute for Sustainable Energy, which is recognized and widely respected throughout New England as an invaluable resource for supporting sustainable energy conservation efforts in municipalities and public schools.
In April 2012, Eastern was named one of the nation's Green Colleges by The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This is the third year in a row that Eastern has received the designation.
Eastern Connecticut State University is the state's public liberal arts university and serves approximately 5,400 students each year on its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. It is the policy of Eastern Connecticut State University to ensure equal access to its events. If you are an individual with a disability and will need accommodations for this event, please contact the Office of University Relations at (860) 465-5735.
About the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA)
CEFIA was established by Connecticut's General Assembly on July 1, 2011, as a part of Public Act 11-80. This new quasi-public agency supersedes the former Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. CEFIA's mission is to help ensure Connecticut's energy security and community prosperity by realizing its environmental and economic opportunities through clean energy finance and investments. As the nation's first full-scale clean energy finance authority, CEFIA will leverage public and private funds to drive investment and scale-up clean energy deployment in Connecticut. For more information about CEFIA, please visit www.ctcleanenergy.com.
About UTC Power
UTC Power, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company, provides energy-efficient products and services to the aerospace and building industries. UTC Power is the world leader in developing and producing fuel cells that generate energy for buildings and for transportation, space and defense applications. UTC Power has designed, manufactured and installed more than 300 stationary fuel cells in 19 countries on six continents. For more information, please visit www.utcpower.com