Moving from NASA’s space shuttle to crown estate developments in central London, fuel cell technology will soon provide efficient and emission-free energy to one of the largest commercial buildings in the British capital city. The future home of Al Gore‘s sustainable investment company Generation Investment Management, will be fully powered by a fuel cell system, which has not yet been installed in any other facility in the UK.
Fuel cells are known for their ability to produce electricity without releasing any of the major atmospheric pollutants including nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx) or particulate matter (PM). As Alastair Smart, the chief of the estate development, states, this source of energy is sustainable and highly viable, especially because of its long life.
The technology, which will be installed in the former US vice-president’s company headquarters, has been developed by the American company FuelCell Energy. The price of the fuel cells have not been released yet, however the redevelopment of the building was estimated at £400m.
By supplying energy to the crown estate development, fuel cells are expected to save up to 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, which equals a release of 38% less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, compared to what would have been emitted if the building was powered by the grid. The new fuel cell plant is integrated in the central energy system, which provides power to more than 500,000 sq ft of flats, shops, hotels and offices.
The promising technology is expected to reduce the energy costs and carbon footprint of commercial buildings by as much as 40%.