A trigeneration fuel cell and hydrogen energy station described as the world’s first has been commissioned in California with support from the US Department of Energy (DOE).

Based at the Orange County Sanitation District’s wastewater treatment plant in Fountain Valley, the system was commissioned on 16 August to produce electricity, heat and hydrogen from biogas.

The system’s electric power will supply an industrial facility while hydrogen will be used at a fuelling station, which will open to the public and support between 25 and 50 fuel cell electric vehicle fill-ups per day. The fuel cell also produces about 250 kW of power for use by the wastewater treatment plant.

The US DOE described the Fountain Valley fuel cell system as a pathway to low-cost hydrogen that demonstrates the versatility of fuel cells to utilize multiple feedstocks, such as biogas and natural gas, to produce power and renewable hydrogen that can be used to fuel light duty vehicles or as backup power in applications such as cell phone towers.

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