Manufactured by FuelCell Energy, Inc., based in Danbury, CT., the fuel cell is now the biggest power source for this 260,000 square foot manufacturing facility, and represents the largest single commercial fuel cell power plant in the United States.
Â“This initiative reflects the strong commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainability that is held by both Pepperidge Farm and our parent company Campbell Soup Company,Â” said Pat Callaghan, President, Pepperidge Farm.
This fuel cell initiative is supported in part by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF), a ratepayer fund administered by Connecticut Innovations Inc., which provided a grant of $3.5 million to Pepperidge Farm to offset part of the cost of construction last year.
This is the second fuel cell power plant installation at the Pepperidge Farm Bloomfield plant, which opened in 2003. A smaller, FuelCell Energy 250-kilowatt fuel cell was commissioned for the site in January 2006, also with assistance from CCEF.
On its own, the new fuel cell supplies about 57 percent of the total electrical needs for the bakery. Combined with the smaller fuel cell, this installation fulfills 70 percent of the plantÂ’s electricity needs with clean power. Both fuel cells operate 24/7 and greatly improve the reliability of electricity at the site Â– a key issue for a plant that operates three shifts, six days a week. Additionally, excess heat from the new fuel cell is being used to support bakery processes, which helps reduce fuel needs for plant boilers.
Â“Pepperidge Farm is making excellent use of all the attributes of the fuel cell,Â” said Lise Dondy, President of CCEF. Â“Not only are they deriving a significant portion of their required electricity, but they are also effectively utilizing the fuel cellÂ’s thermal output to enjoy the added benefit of being able to operate with a decreased dependence on less efficient resources."
Â“We are pleased that Pepperidge Farm relies on DFC fuel cells to achieve its sustainability goals,Â” added Richard Shaw, Director Business Development for FuelCell Energy. Â“By using our ultra-clean, highly efficient DFC fuel cells, Pepperidge Farm stands to significantly reduce power costs while lowering emissions and increasing power reliability.Â”
Fuel cells produce electricity electrochemically (without combustion) with near-zero emissions of nitrous oxides, sulfur oxides and particulate matter. Because they do not combust fuel, they emit much less carbon dioxide than other fossil fuel generators. DFC fuel cells operate at 47 percent electrical efficiency so they use less fuel to produce more power, saving on energy costs. When used in combined heat and power applications, such as the Pepperidge Farm installation where the byproduct heat is used in the baking process, the overall system efficiency can be up to 80 percent.
Â“We are already seeing the benefits of this investment in our bakery, and it supports the clean energy goals of both our home state of Connecticut and our parent Campbell Soup,Â” said Robert Furbee, Pepperidge Farm Senior Vice President, Operations. Â“It signifies not only a great business initiative but also a great partnership among Connecticut entities committed to pursuing clean, alternative energy sources for the state Â– Pepperidge Farm, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, and FuelCell Energy, Inc.Â”