Cal State East Bay Creates Buzz with Giant Fuel Cell

  • October 14, 2011

HEAR THIS AUDIO REPORT

By Dave Padilla, KCBS All-News Radio Reporter

HAYWARD (KCBS)— California State University, East Bay in Hayward has become one of the first universities in Northern California to have a fuel cell on campus.

PG&E paid $7 million to have the fuel cell on the north side of campus which can generate more than 1.4 megawatts of power. The energy produced is enough to light up 1,400 homes and businesses.

The fuel cell sounds like a giant metallic beehive, but it’s odorless.

Jim Zavagno, the university’s director of planning, design and construction, answered some questions about how it all works.

“It takes natural gas, water and it mixes it up at very high temperatures and produces electricity,” Zavagno said.

He also said the fuel cell generates a lot of heat, which will be recaptured to heat pools and buildings at the university. University president Leroy Morishita said there will be academic applications too.

“It’s going to be a great educational sight for our students. It’ll be an environmental living laboratory,” Morishita said.

He added that recapturing the heat from the fuel cell will save the university $160,000 annually.

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