FuelCell Energy enters option agreement for landfill gas project

By Erin Voegele | January 10, 2019

FuelCell Energy Inc. has announced progress with the development of two biogas fuel cell projects in California, including one in Orange County that will convert landfill gas into renewable electricity and hydrogen.

On Jan. 8, the company announced it has signed an exclusive option agreement with Orange County regarding the utilization of landfill gas at the Coyote Canyon landfill in Newport Beach for a fuel cell project. The following day, on Jan. 9, FuelCell Energy announced it has been awarded $3.77 million from the South Coast Air Quality Management District to enable the development of a separate renewable fuel cell project in California.

Regarding the Coyote Canyon landfill project in Newport Beach, FuelCell Energy noted the option agreement was won via a competitive solicitation and provides the company with an exclusive right to develop the site’s landfill gas as a source of renewable biofuel. According to FuelCell Energy, the option agreement is expected to culminate in the negotiation and execution of a landfill gas and delivery site license agreement.

Information released by the company indicates it expects to install operating fuel cell systems at the landfill site that will produce both renewable electricity and renewable hydrogen. The project is expected to produce between 1,200 and 2,400 kilograms per day of hydrogen, which will be supplied to the fuel cell vehicle market in Los Angeles beginning in late 2020.

“We are pleased to have been selected by Orange County Waste and Recycling to develop and deliver this 100 percent renewable source of hydrogen and electricity,” said Chip Bottone, president and CEO of FuelCell Energy. “This site is an important element of our overall strategy to provide renewable power and hydrogen to support California’s efforts to decarbonize its transportation sector. FuelCell Energy has developed a technology that not only provides utility scale solutions for reliable distributed power, but a solution to cost effectively deliver hydrogen to markets that are rapidly adapting hydrogen powered vehicles. This will be our second project of this type in southern California, adding to our previously announced project with Toyota at the Port of Long Beach. The opportunity is substantial for cost effective distributed hydrogen solutions, and we are just in the early stages of broad deployment of our carbonate fuel cell solution.”

During an investor call on Jan. 10, Bottone confirmed that the $3.77 million in funding awarded by SCAQMD will support a separate distributed hydrogen and fuel cell project. He said more information will be released on the project as the company finalizes development and project agreements. A statement released by the company notes the project aims to produce renewable hydrogen and power from onsite biogas while avoiding NOx and VOC emissions.