NEW YORK, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The New York Power Authority (NYPA)
added a novel touch of green to the Central Park landscape Tuesday when it
dedicated a fuel cell power plant that will produce virtually pollution-free
electricity while solving a major problem for the police station in the park.
Joining NYPA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer C.D. "Rapp" Rappleyea in
unveiling the 200-kilowatt (kw) unit -- painted "Central Park green" -- were
Robert W. Gee, assistant secretary for fossil energy at the U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE); Police Commissioner Howard Safir; and other city, police and
"This project will help the New York Power Authority meet two of Governor
[George E.] Pataki's top priorities -- to protect the environment and cut the
cost of government," Rappleyea said during ceremonies at the police station on
the road that crosses the park at 86th Street.
The fuel cell will meet the electricity needs of the 128-year-old police
station, which at times hasn't had enough power to run all of the computers,
copiers and office fixtures essential to police work. It will permit
installation of sophisticated electronic booking equipment, and will end the
need to shut off the air conditioning for lack of power on some hot summer
Rappleyea noted that the "green machine" -- dedicated two days before
Earth Day -- will cut emissions of gases tied to global warming, acid rain and
other environmental threats and will avoid the $1.2 million cost of providing
an upgraded power line to the police station.
Commissioner Safir said, "The expenses associated with running additional
power through Central Park into a precinct built in 1871 would have been
prohibitive if not for NYPA's assistance. The solution, an environmentally
clean fuel cell power plant, will not only allow the precinct to conduct its
normal business, but will take us well into the next century without any
Assistant Secretary Gee said, "The installation of this fuel cell, in this
setting, reflects the commitment of the New York Power Authority and the city
to protecting the quality of our environment -- not only for those who enjoy
the park today, but for future generations. It also reflects their commitment
to be modern-day pioneers -- to be among the first in this nation to adopt an
In addition to serving the police station -- which was originally the
Central Park Stable -- the fuel cell will supply electricity for an adjacent
charging facility to power quiet, non-polluting electric vehicles to be used
by police patrols. NYPA has obtained a three-wheeled electric vehicle for the
precinct, with another to come, and is working with the Police Department and
the Central Park Conservancy to help arrange and fund the leasing of four
electric patrol cars.
"The fuel cell and the electric vehicle charging provide a double benefit
for the environment -- emission-free vehicles running on clean power,"
Rappleyea said. "By any standards, this project's environmental credentials
Long-term plans also call for the fuel cell, installed in the police
station's parking lot, to provide heat for the building.
The 10-foot-high fuel cell, manufactured by ONSI Corp. of South Windsor,
Conn., a subsidiary of United Technologies, is powered by natural gas and
produces electricity through a chemical reaction, rather than combustion. The
natural gas is processed to form hydrogen, which combines with oxygen in the
air to produce electricity, heat and water. Not only are emissions negligible,
but noise levels are about the same as from a window air conditioner.
ONSI President Robert Suttmiller said, "The fuel cell operating at 200 kw
for 8,400 hours per year will reduce carbon dioxide by 1,100 tons, and other
air pollutants by 40,000 pounds, compared with electricity generated from
average combustion-based processes in the U. S."
NYPA installed the fuel cell as part of its long-term energy supply
agreement with the city. Rappleyea noted that low-cost NYPA electricity powers
the city's public buildings, schools, street lights and subway and commuter
trains, with annual savings to taxpayers and train riders of more than $250
million. In addition, he said, NYPA power supplied under Governor Pataki's
Power for Jobs program and other initiatives helps to protect more than
135,000 jobs at businesses and non-profit institutions throughout the city.
Other New York Power Authority projects in the city range from a High
Efficiency Lighting Program (HELP) that will save taxpayers $25 million a year
to implementation of the governor's program to replace coal-burning furnaces
in public schools.
NYPA is preparing to install another fuel cell at North Central Bronx
Hospital. It currently operates a 200-kw fuel cell at the Westchester County
Wastewater Treatment Plant in Yonkers -- the first in the Western Hemisphere
to run on anaerobic digester gas produced during sewage treatment. Each of
these projects has received a DOE grant.
SOURCE New York Power Authority