Al Gore, the former US vice-president and climate change champion, will benefit from fuel cell technology designed by NASA, and used in its space shuttle, to provide the light and heat at his new headquarters in London.
The £300 million Quadrant 3 redevelopment on Regent Street, will be used as the headquarters for Generation Investment Management, Gore’s sustainable investment company. It will use a fuel cell that converts natural gas into heat and electricity, whilst producing no carbon emissions.
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Alastair Smart, the head of development at the Crown Estate, the organisation in charge of developing the Quadrant building, said that “the fuel cell is a real flag in the sand, demonstrating what is possible in terms of energy efficiency and carbon reduction. It offers a commercially viable and sustainable source of energy. One of the main reasons for this is that the infrastructure lasts for 20 years, a lot longer than traditional systems.”
The Guardian explains that the fuel cell, developed by FuelCell Energy, unlike other fossil fuel burning power plants, produces power whilst producing virtually no nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, or small particulate matter that is the main cause of emission pollution and smog. It creates 38% less carbon dioxide than using normal electricity from the national grid and generating heat through gas-fired boilers, saving an estimated 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
Regent Street in London, showing the Quadrant 3 development.
The new fuel cell power plant will be a major part of the central energy system that will provide power and heat to 500,000 square feet of offices, shops, flats, restaurants, and hotels that will be included in the Quadrant development.
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Mike Rinker, from the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, said that “combined heat and power fuel cell systems can help commercial buildings with high energy demands reap significant savings in energy cost and use. We anticipate this type of system could reduce the fuel costs and carbon footprint of a commercial building by approximately 40%, compared with conventional electricity and heat use.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com