Danbury manufacturer FuelCell Energy and developers CT Energy & Technology on Tuesday proposed building the world’s largest fuel cell park on a former salt mine in Beacon Falls.
The proposed 63.3-megawatt park on a 24-acre gravel pit in southern Connecticut would best a 59-megawatt fuel cell system in South Korea as the world’s largest and a 15-megawatt system in Bridgeport as America’s largest. The fuel cells in all three of those systems were manufactured by FuelCell Energy.
CT Energy & Technology still needs to find a company to buy the power – utility companies like Eversource Energy or United Illuminating are likely targets – and is studying with ISO New England how the fuel cell park will attach to the grid.
The proposed site is owned by Torrington construction firm O&G Industries, which would retain ownership while CT Energy & Technology would own the fuel cell system. In addition to manufacturing the system, FuelCell Energy would perform maintenance under a long-term service agreement.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. CT Energy & Technology estimates the system will generate $90 million in property and sales tax revenue for the town and the state.
The fuel cell system would generate enough electricity to power 60,000 homes. Unlike solar systems that only generate electricity when the sun is shining, the fuel cell system will generate power constantly because of a nearby natural gas hookup that can constantly supply it with fuel.
Connecticut is one of three states that considers fuel cells to be a renewable energy, as it generates electricity through a chemical process that yields minimal greenhouse gas emissions.