The new Whole Foods Market in Glastonbury, Conn., will be the first supermarket to generate most of its power on-site with an ultra-clean fuel cell from UTC Power. UTC Power is a United Technologies Corp. company.
“We are always looking to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Kathy Loftus, Global Leader, Sustainable Engineering, Maintenance and Energy for Whole Foods Market. “Together with UTC Power and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, we’ve designed a combined cooling, heating and power system for our new Glastonbury store using a quiet, highly energy-efficient fuel cell that will reduce our carbon footprint dramatically.”
The new 46,000-square-foot store at 55 Welles Street in the Fox Run Mall opens its doors at 10 a.m. on March 12 and will generate 50 percent of the electricity and heat and nearly 100 percent of the hot water needed to operate the store on-site using fuel cell technology. This allows Whole Foods Market to reduce its burden on the power grid and its impact on the environment.
More than half of the energy potential in traditional power plants is lost to the atmosphere as waste heat or in line transmission losses. In contrast, the UTC Power fuel cell system captures its exhaust energy for local cooling and heating. The harnessed exhaust energy at the store will cool refrigeration cases year-round and heat the store in the winter months.
The fuel cell at the Glastonbury Whole Foods Market will be configured for grid-independent operation and is capable of providing 200 kW of standby power if there’s a grid failure, which will enable the store to operate without disruption. “Our UTC Power PureCell® system provides Whole Foods Market with enhanced energy security and will ensure a reliable food supply for customers and protect against costly food spoilage if the power grid goes down,” said Jan van Dokkum, UTC Power president.
Fuel cells are one of the cleanest and quietest power-generating technologies in the world today. Also highly efficient and virtually pollution-free, fuel cells produce electricity, heat and water electrochemically, meaning there is no combustion.
Whole Foods Market’s use of a fuel cell system versus a conventional power plant has carbon dioxide-mitigating benefits equal to planting more than 21 acres of forest, the companies said, and reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions equal to removing 100 cars from the roadways per year.
The store’s fuel cell is eligible for an Onsite Renewable Energy grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF). The CCEF promotes, develops and invests in clean energy sources for sustainable energy for the benefit of Connecticut ratepayers.
Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest retailer of natural and organic foods and America’s first certified organic grocer, is a mission driven company with core values that include caring about the community and environment. The Company works hard to be a leader in environmental stewardship through various environmental initiatives such as working toward eliminating plastic grocery bags by Earth Day 2008, constructing stores with green building methods, supporting local vendors and farmers, using compostable, all-natural fiber containers in its salad and food bars, and offsetting 100 percent of its electricity through renewable energy credits.