FirstEnergy and Ballard Begin Demonstration of One-Megawatt Mobile Fuel Cell System
Electricity and Water Produced by Clean, Green, Renewable Generator
AKRON, Ohio and VANCOUVER, Canada, Nov. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) and Ballard Power Systems (TSX: BLD; Nasdaq: BLDP) are testing an innovative utility-scale fuel cell system designed to produce one megawatt of electricity – enough to power more than 600 homes. The demonstration is being conducted at the FirstEnergy Generation Corp. Eastlake Plant in Eastlake, Ohio.
Considered the world's largest proton exchange membrane hydrogen-powered fuel cell, the 54-foot-long unit is mounted on a tractor-trailer for mobility and produces only heat and water as byproducts. Over the next five years, the companies will test the performance of the system in real-world operating conditions to better understand its capability to provide generating capacity during peak usage periods in the months of May through September. In addition, the performance and operating data will be evaluated in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
"Finding new sources of clean, renewable peaking energy is important for meeting our customers' energy needs and helping us meet increasingly stringent environmental requirements," said Gary R. Leidich , executive vice president and president of FirstEnergy Generation. "This fuel cell system has the added benefit of being mobile, so it can provide peaking power when and where it's needed."
The system is comprised of nine fuel cell modules, a compressor compartment that provides air for the fuel cell reaction, an inverter compartment that converts the power from 640-volt direct current to 380-volt alternating current (AC), and a transformer to step up the voltage to 480-volt, three-phase AC power to the electrical system.
"Deploying our CLEARgen™ system with FirstEnergy provides an opportunity to demonstrate performance in a utility-scale peak power application," said Michael Goldstein , Ballard's chief commercial officer. "With the increasing interest in clean energy solutions, we are seeing demand for this scalable product across a number of different distributed power generation applications."
Ballard's hydrogen-powered proton exchange membrane fuel cells combine hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air to produce electrical energy efficiently, quietly and without combustion. The only byproducts of the process are heat and water. Because it uses hydrogen as fuel, the system is considered renewable.
FirstEnergy is a diversified energy company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Its subsidiaries and affiliates are involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, as well as energy management and other energy-related services.
Ballard Power Systems, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, designs and manufactures clean energy hydrogen fuel cell products enabling optimized power systems for a range of applications.
Forward-Looking Statements: This news release includes forward-looking statements based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. These statements include declarations regarding management's intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms "anticipate," "potential," "expect," "believe," "estimate" and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially due to the speed and nature of increased competition in the electric utility industry and legislative and regulatory changes affecting how generation rates will be determined following the expiration of existing rate plans in Pennsylvania, the impact of the regulatory process on the pending matters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, business and regulatory impacts from American Transmission Systems, Incorporated's realignment into PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., economic or weather conditions affecting future sales and margins, changes in markets for energy services, changing energy and commodity market prices and availability, financial derivative reforms that could increase our liquidity needs and collateral costs, replacement power costs being higher than anticipated or inadequately hedged, the continued ability of FirstEnergy's regulated utilities to collect transition and other charges or to recover increased transmission costs, operating and maintenance costs being higher than anticipated, other legislative and regulatory changes, revised environmental requirements, including possible greenhouse gas emission and coal combustion regulations, the potential impacts of the U.S. Court of Appeals' July 11, 2008 decision requiring revisions to the Clean Air Interstate Rules and the scope of any laws, rules or regulations that may ultimately take their place, the uncertainty of the timing and amounts of the capital expenditures needed to, among other things, implement the Air Quality Compliance Plan (including that such amounts could be higher than anticipated or that certain generating units may need to be shut down) or levels of emission reductions related to the Consent Decree resolving the New Source Review litigation or other similar potential regulatory initiatives or actions, adverse regulatory or legal decisions and outcomes (including, but not limited to, the revocation of necessary licenses or operating permits and oversight) by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Metropolitan Edison Company's and Pennsylvania Electric Company's transmission service charge filings with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the continuing availability of generating units and their ability to operate at or near full capacity, the ability to comply with applicable state and federal reliability standards, the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic goals (including employee workforce initiatives), the ability to improve electric commodity margins and to experience growth in the distribution business, the changing market conditions that could affect the value of assets held in FirstEnergy's nuclear decommissioning trusts, pension trusts and other trust funds, and cause it to make additional contributions sooner, or in an amount that is larger than currently anticipated, the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with FirstEnergy's financing plan and the cost of such capital, changes in general economic conditions affecting the company, the state of the capital and credit markets affecting the company, interest rates and any actions taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect FirstEnergy's access to financing or its costs or increase its requirements to post additional collateral to support outstanding commodity positions, letters of credit and other financial guarantees, the continuing decline of the national and regional economy and its impact on the company's major industrial and commercial customers, issues concerning the soundness of financial institutions and counterparties with which FirstEnergy does business, the expected timing and likelihood of completion of the proposed merger with Allegheny Energy, Inc., including the timing, receipt and terms and conditions of any required governmental and regulatory approvals of the proposed merger that could reduce anticipated benefits or cause the parties to abandon the merger, the diversion of management's time and attention from our ongoing business during this time period, the ability to maintain relationships with customers, employees or suppliers as well as the ability to successfully integrate the businesses and realize cost savings and any other synergies and the risk that the credit ratings of the combined company or its subsidiaries may be different from what the companies expect and the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings, and other similar factors. The foregoing review of factors should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy's business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any current intention to update any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
SOURCE FirstEnergy Corp.
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