471 Main Street, East Hartford
Bryan Misenheimer, plant manager, Coca-Cola Refreshments
Fuel Cells the Real Thing for Coca Cola
Green mission: ‘We are committed to growing the business without growing carbon emission in our manufacturing operations.’
The two PureCell System Model 400 fuel cells each produce up to 400 kW of energy and are expected eventually to supply up to 100 percent of the electricity and 50 percent of the heating needs of the plant.
Julia Steele an East Hartford High School Senior won a design contest for a wrap to decorate the Fuel Cells.
The fuel cells are powered by oxygen and hydrogen, currently extracted from natural gas. They have cut the facility’s greenhouse gas emissions as well as overall pollution and are expected to reduce overall energy use by 30 percent.
Coca-Cola says the cells are quiet and meet “meet or exceed the most stringent air emission standards in the United States.” In addition, the cells operate in “water-balance” with no consumption or discharge of water in normal operation.
With its onsite generators, Coca-Cola is no longer dependent on the power grid. Indeed, the cells will produce electricity when the region’s thirst for both Coca-Cola beverages and electricity is highest — in the heat of summer.
Connecticut’s Clean Energy Fund helped the project along with a $1.25 million grant.
Bryan Misenheimer, East Hartford plant manager for Coca-Cola Refreshments, says his company expects to achieve its objectives for using the full range of energy produced by the fuel cells. “We are pleased with the results of the fuel cells we have installed so far,” he says. “We have learned some lessons from prior installations and are working to ‘tune’ the system to meet the performance goals in terms of heat utilization, which is a byproduct of the fuel cell processes.”
Maria Pignataro, Coke’s Northeast director of public affairs and communications, says his operates on a “sustainability platform called Coca-Cola Live Positively” (see livepositively.com). The program includes environmental goals for water use and stewardship, manufacturing, transportation and even use of refrigerants.
To meet its “live positively” goals Coca-Cola has also purchased fuel cells from United Technologies for Elmsford, N.Y. and has been deploying a variety of fuels cells in facilities in other states. It has even converted a forklift fleet to hydrogen power at a distribution center in San Leandro, Calif.
Beyond the fuel cells, Coca-Cola has established an energy goal through 2012 “to grow its business but not system-wide carbon emissions from its manufacturing process,” according to the company. Alternative-fuel vehicles are part of the strategy to meet that objective. The company presently has 750 such vehicles in North America including hybrid, all-electric and natural gas-fueled vehicles.
— Mitchell Young
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