UConn is reducing its carbon footprint with a new fuel cell.
The University joined United Technologies Power and the state's Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority to unveil the 400-kilowatt lean, green, carbon-fighting machine at the Mansfield Depot campus Thursday.
The fuel cell will reduce UConn's carbon dioxide output by 600,000 pounds. That's the equivalent of planting 192 acres of trees, removing 110 cars off the road, and saving nearly 3.9 million gallons of water each year, according to the school. It will also provide electricity, heat, and cooling to university research labs and offices.
“Basically we use natural gas without combustion and it produces electricity, heat, and water with very very low emissions,” said Richard Shaw of UTC Power.
But this cell is not just giving power. For students, it's giving something else – the opportunity to study the fuel cell in the hopes of improving on the technology for the future.
“We can use this model as we move forward with an initiative in the legislature on microgrids. When the power goes down in the state, fuel cells provide that power,” said Sen. Don Williams, (D) President Pro-Tem.
The cost of the fuel cell is between $3 million and $4 million, according to the Dean of Engineering at UConn. A federal stimulus grant from the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority will cover $1 million of the costs.