Photo: Golub Corporation
In The New York Times on Wednesday, I write about a New York grocery store chain that has installed a low-emission fuel cell to power one of its supermarkets:
A supermarket in Albany is among the first grocery stores in the country to install a fuel cell to supply cleaner, greener electricity along with heat and hot water.
Fuel cells reform natural gas to produce hydrogen that’s combined with oxygen to generate electricity, heat and water. The process produces a fraction of the carbon dioxide and other pollutants emitted by power plants.
The Price Chopper store in Albany, owned by the Golub Corporation, is using a 400-kilowatt PureCell fuel cell made by U.T.C. Power, a division of United Technologies.
The fuel cell provides most of the electricity for the 69,000-square-foot supermarket, and in the event of a blackout it can operate off the grid to keep the lights on.
Benny Smith, vice president of facilities for Golub, said the company began investigating fuel cells in 2007 when electricity prices spiked in the Northeast, where it operates 120 Price Chopper stores.
“You have to plan your own destiny,” said Mr. Smith. “After meeting with the U.T.C. folks, we decided to go with a fuel cell since a combined heat and power system is more efficient and had a positive cash flow.”
A major consideration, according to Mr. Smith, was the availability of financial incentives from the New York State Energy Research Development Authority. He said the agency gave U.T.C. an $800,000 grant, which the company factored into a lease agreement with Golub.
The fuel cell, which feeds electricity into the power grid, began operating last month. During the winter, it supplies about 90 percent of the store’s electricity and heats the facility. “We’re producing at a much more effective cost due to the combined heat and power,” said Mr. Smith.
You can read the rest of the story here.