Officials with the U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday that FuelCell Energy will receive a $900,000 grant to produce a new system of distributed hydrogen production.
The technology would allow hydrogen to be generated where its needed rather than at larger plants, reducing transportation costs and greenhouse gases that are emitted through the process.
The grant is part of $20 million announced by the department to advance hydrogen production and delivery technologies.
"Developing technologies that can economically produce and deliver hydrogen to power fuel cells from diverse, domestic and renewable resources can enable substantial reductions in energy use and carbon emissions," federal energy officials said in a statement released Tuesday.
Engineers with FuelCell recently completed the installation of the largest fuel cell in North America, owned by Dominion Energy and located in Bridgeport.
The company also recently received an order from United Illuminating to build a two additional 2.8 megawatt fuel cell plants in the region.
The federal grant announced Tuesday will be used to develop unique electrochemical reactor using the company's commercial carbonate fuel cell stacks to produce a low-cost, distributed hydrogen generation method that releases few greenhouse gases.
While most hydrogen generation is done on a large scale at a central location, distributed hydrogen generation would reduce the cost of transportation and provide a reliable fuel supply by producing hydrogen where its needed.
"Our stationary fuel cell power plant technology is very versatile as demonstrated by this completely new hydrogen generation approach using direct fuel cell stacks," said Anthony Leo, the company's vice president of applications and advanced technology development. "This award from the U.S. Department of Energy will get the R&D started on this concept, which could be an attractive approach to generate hydrogen in a low or carbon-neutral manner."
Company officials reported earlier this month a net loss for the second quarter of $16.6 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $38.3 million, compared with a loss of $8.2 million, or 4 cents a share, on $42.4 million in revenue reported for the second quarter of 2013.
Company executives, however, were bullish on the future, citing at the time anticipated increased revenue in the second half of the year from projects including the fuel cells sold to United Illuminating and a 1.4-megawatt unit sold to the University of Bridgeport.
The company's stock jumped 5.4 percent Tuesday after the federal grant was announced, closing at $2.35 per share.
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