Ballard Power Systems announced the sale of a 175 kilowatt ClearGen distributed generation fuel cell system to the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe of Humboldt County, California. The fuel cell system will be integrated with a biomass gasifier and syngas purification unit to form an integrated biomass-to-fuel cell power solution. The system will be the first of its kind, with the potential to double the efficiency of biomass-to-power generation.
The system will convert locally-grown timber by-product feedstock into hydrogen-rich syngas, using pyrolysis gasification technology. This syngas will then be purified, resulting in a high quality hydrogen stream, which will be used to power the ClearGen fuel cell system. The plant will provide base load power for the Tribe’s commercial enterprises and by-product heat will be used to warm the swimming pool in an adjacent hotel.
Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe will integrate the ClearGen system, biomass gasifier and fuel purification unit with support from the Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC), a research and teaching center affiliated with Humboldt State University’s Environmental Resources Engineering program.
The project is supported by a proposed funding award to the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a local-government joint powers agency, from the California Energy Commission's Community Scale Renewable Energy Development, Deployment and Integration Program. That program focuses on technical solutions enabling communities to rely primarily on locally-available renewable resources to provide electricity at competitive rates.