Fuel Cell to Power Whole Foods Store

The new Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI) in Glastonbury, Connecticut, will be the first supermarket to generate most of its power on-site with a fuel cell.

The new 46,000-square-foot store will generate 50% of the electricity and heat and nearly 100% of the hot water needed to operate the store on-site using a fuel cell made by UTC Power, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.

Highly efficient and virtually pollution-free, fuel cells produce electricity, heat and water electrochemically, meaning there is no combustion.

More than half of the energy potential in traditional power plants is lost to the atmosphere as waste heat or in-line transmission losses. In contrast, the fuel cell system captures its exhaust energy to cool refrigeration cases year-round and heat the store in the winter months.

The fuel cell at the Glastonbury Whole Foods Market will be configured for grid-independent operation and is capable of providing 200 kW of standby power if there’s a grid failure, which will enable the store to operate without disruption. "Our UTC Power PureCell® system provides Whole Foods Market with enhanced energy security and will ensure a reliable food supply for customers and protect against costly food spoilage if the power grid goes down," said Jan van Dokkum, UTC Power president.

The store’s fuel cell also is eligible for an Onsite Renewable Energy grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF). The CCEF promotes, develops and invests in clean energy sources for sustainable energy for the benefit of Connecticut ratepayers.

Whole Foods Market’s use of a fuel cell system versus a conventional power plant has carbon dioxide-mitigating benefits equal to planting more than 21 acres of forest, the companies said, and reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions equal to removing 100 cars from the roadways per year.

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