SoCalGas Invests in Oregon Fuel Cell Manufacturer
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced it has invested $1 million in ClearEdge Power, an Oregon fuel cell manufacturer. The investment is a strategic addition to the utility company’s growing clean energy portfolio.
“Investing in ClearEdge Power advances our leadership in sustainable energy development which offers our customers an additional technology choice that can help reduce their energy bill and carbon footprint,” said Hal Snyder, vice president of customer solutions at SoCalGas. “Fuel cells are among a number of green energy technologies that we are helping to develop through innovative research projects and equity investments that will benefit our customers and the market.”
SoCalGas has a long history with fuel cells, from funding research and demonstrations of fuel cells starting in the 1970s, to co-founding the National Fuel Cell Research Center at UC Irvine. SoCalGas also has been heavily involved in testing and demonstrating current fuel cells from a variety of companies, and has invested in fuel cell manufacturers to help accelerate product development.
The ClearEdge5 combined heat and power (CHP) fuel cell reduces carbon emissions by one-third and other typical pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds, ash and particulates, to trace levels, according to ClearEdge Power officials. It also enables homeowners and business owners to produce power right at the point of use, reducing a customer’s dependence on the grid.
“SoCalGas is a leader in the push for new innovative green technologies, and we are pleased that our company is able to help move that effort forward,” said ClearEdge Power President and CEO Russell Ford. “Though we are bringing our energy platform to other states later this year, California is leading the country in green initiatives, which makes it the clear priority. Californians, like SoCalGas customers, really need a better option for on-site power generation using clean natural gas, and with the ClearEdge5 fuel cell, they get that option.”
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), more than 45 percent of the electricity Americans consume today comes from burning coal – a finite, toxic resource. The EIA predicts that world demand for electricity will increase by 49 percent within the next 20 years. Fuel cells offer customers an opportunity to generate their own electricity on-site using a clean and highly efficient technology.
Also, according to a recent report by business intelligence provider IntertechPira, entitled “The Future of Clean Technologies,” the clean tech sector is poised to expand more than 250 percent by 2019. Fuel cells are expected to increase 10 fold, from $2 billion to $20 billion, in the same period.
Although fuel cells were invented in 1839, the technology is only now becoming competitive with other power generation technologies. Fuel cells have long been used to power NASA manned-spacecraft, like the Apollo program.
Fuel cells work by converting natural gas energy into useable electricity. Unlike traditional electric power plants, which use combustion technology, fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical process from which no particulate matter, nitrogen oxides or sulfur oxides are produced. A significant percentage of heat produced by fuel cells can be captured and used to provide heating and hot water.
About ClearEdge Power
ClearEdge Power is a global, privately held, technology company leading the way for smarter, cleaner on-site energy systems focused on commercial, institutional and residential buildings. The company designs, manufactures and markets the ClearEdge5 system, a unique, proven fuel cell appliance that cleanly converts natural gas to electricity and heat, offering both significant financial and energy savings, as well as a greatly reduced impact on the global environment. The ClearEdge Power corporate management systems are certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. For more information, please visit http://www.clearedgepower.com.
About Southern California Gas Company
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.9 million consumers through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. Southern California Gas Co. is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company. To learn more, go to socalgas.com.
SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.