Fuel cell technology used to power Nasa’s space shuttle will provide light and heat for Al Gore’s new London headquarters.
The fuel cell, which converts gas into heat and electricity without producing carbon emissions, has been installed in a major crown estatedevelopment in Regent Street in the capital.
“The fuel cell is a real flag in the sand, demonstrating what is possible in terms of energy efficiency and carbon reduction,” said the crown estate’s head of development, Alastair Smart. The cost of the new system, the first of its kind to be installed in the UK, has not been revealed but Smart said: “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.”
Climate campaigner and former US vice-president Gore said the £400m Quadrant 3 redevelopment showed a “sophisticated commitment to sustainability”. The headquarters of his sustainable investment company, Generation Investment Management, will be sited in the new buildings.
The cell was developed by US company FuelCell Energy. It will emit 38% less carbon dioxide than using electricity from the grid and heat from gas-fired boilers, according to the crown estate, which says 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions will be saved per year. Unlike fossil-fuel-burning power plants, the fuel cell produces power with virtually no nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx) or particulate matter (PM) pollution.