Atmos Energy has announced that it has recently completed the installation of a natural gas-powered fuel cell at its corporate data centre, which it says can generate high efficiency, grid-independent electricity with low emissions.
According to the company, the 460-kilowatt fuel cell generates electricity and heat through an electrochemical process with no combustion or moving parts – allowing it to deliver up to 90 per cent system efficiency and much lower emissions, or emissions-free when coupled with renewable natural gas or carbon offsets.
Looking ahead, Atmos Energy hopes to power the fuel cell with renewable natural gas (RNG) produced from methane captured at landfills and livestock farms or combine with carbon offsets, to further benefit the environment and deliver even greater sustainability.
“Natural gas once again proves it plays a pivotal role in lowering greenhouse gas emissions while increasing reliability to our critical facilities,” said Jennifer Ries, Atmos Energy vice president of pipeline safety. “We are excited to have this innovative technology operational and will continue to explore additional pathways to achieve increased reliability and a low carbon energy future.”
The as-yet-unnamed manufacturer is cited as claiming that a natural gas-powered fuel cell offsets approximately three times more carbon dioxide than either solar or wind thanks to the fuel cell’s high efficiency, high-capacity factor, and very low or zero emissions. They also claim that fuel cells also use much less land than other renewable energy projects, generating nearly 500 times more power per square foot annually than solar or wind.