The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has signed a US$500,000 contract with Plug Power Inc. to support commercialization of its residential micro-CHP fuel cell system.

The additional funding will support the integration of heating technology.

The micro-CHP fuel cell, part of Plug Power’s GenSys line of products, are expected to save consumers an estimated 30% on their annual utility bills, while generating near-zero emissions.

The competitively awarded NYSERDA contract will allow Plug to accelerate engineering and product refinement through the integration of a peak burner into the fuel cell system. The new design will enable rapid start-up time, allowing the system to meet the customer’s immediate heating demands while maximizing the fuel cell’s electrical utilization, they say.

Mark Sperry, vice president and general manager of Plug Power’s Continuous Power Division said: ‘The CHP system is anticipated to yield a combined efficiency in excess of 85%, more than double the fuel efficiency of the grid.’

Meanwhile, Robert G. Callender, NYSERDA’s vice president for programs commented: ‘Commercialization of fuel cell technology will create enormous market opportunities for New York firms involved in the manufacturing, sale, installation and maintenance of systems.’