Construction on a new fuel cell power plant at CSUN is scheduled for completion by December 2006, said Tim Brown, director of Physical Plant Management.
The production of the 1-megawatt power plant began in late spring 2006, Brown said.
Initially the plant was planned for completion by January 2007, but CSUN will receive rebates if it is done by the end of this year. Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power will give CSUN a rebate of $2.25 million while the Self-Generation Incentive Program, a gas provider on campus, will give $5,000. Furthermore, this plant is a milestone requirement of the SGIP, Brown said.
“California is constantly growing but to provide energy is limited,” Brown said.
The creation of the new plant will provide more energy.
“For environmental and economic reasons this plant is very vital,” said Dr. S.K. Ramesh, Dean for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “It’s getting the most out for a low cost.” The cost of energy per kilowatt will be 8.7 cents, providing an inexpensive local source of energy.
The plant, which was purchased from FuelCell, Inc., a Connecticut-based manufacturer, for about $4 million, will act like a large battery, providing power to CSUN buildings.
The plant will serve as a living-learning lab for engineering and computer science majors. The students will be able to have hands-on experience through the process of creating the new fuel cell plant.
PPM originally gave 12 graduate students the opportunity to help with the creation of the new plant, but now only a few of those students remain, including Shawn McConomy and Mikhail Yefimov.
Graduate students who have become staff members since the start of this project have dedicated time to the process of the plant.
“It’s nice to be working with new technology,” McConomy said.
Other graduate students who were initially on board to help with the plant have now gone on to pursue other careers in the engineering field.
“This plant gives students more chances at getting better jobs,” Brown said. “And it’s something that other institutions may not provide.”
This is also the first self-installed power plant by students and faculty, which provides a great experience for those involved, Brown said.
“This plant will not only provide clean energy, it will also provide more energy,” Brown said.
Since hydrogen is an important source in helping the environment, the plant is created to separate carbon, thus producing more hydrogen and releasing the carbon. Additionally, since the carbon isn’t needed, it will be released as carbon dioxide, helping in the growth of plants.
Furthermore, since the plant will help plants grow bigger and faster, the engineering team that designed the plant also plans to help beautify the campus by creating a rainforest on the CSUN campus that will help with the emissions.