Capital Planning, Design & Construction

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Fuel Cell Project

Construction Dates

Completed September 2, 2011


The fuel cell plant is fully operational. It began delivering electrical power to PG&E’s local distribution grid As of early August, 2011. The campus began recovering heat from the fuel cell for use in heating campus buildings and domestic hot water as of early August, 2011. A kiosk displaying information about the fuel cell plant is located on site.


In collaboration with SF State, PG&E has installed and is operating a fuel cell plant on the campus, located in the decommissioned steam boiler plant attached to the Gym. Locating the fuel cell complex on the SF State campus offers a multitude of instructional, collaborative, and research opportunities for faculty and students to study and experience the actual application of fuel cell technology.

The facility consists of two fuel cell systems: one manufactured by Fuel Cell Energy, which generates 1400 KW, and the other by Bloom Energy producing 200 KW, for a total of 1,600 KW or 1.6 MW of electrical power. The Fuel Cell Energy fuel cell is located inside the building and the Bloom Energy fuel cell in the courtyard.


Power generated by the fuel cell systems is fed to a step-up transformer (480V/12kV AC) located outside the northeast corner of the building. The output of the transformer is connected to PG&E’s 12kV distribution grid at the intersection of 19th and Holloway Avenues. The heat captured from fuel cell is used in the campus thermal heating loop, helping to reduce SF State’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Scope of work

    PG&E modified the existing boiler plant and courtyard to receive the fuel cell equipment. Work involved cutting a new opening in the exterior concrete wall, removal of a column, and sawcutting of the concrete slab. A crane stationed near the boiler building was used to lift and install the equipment. In addition, PG&E installed a12kV electrical connection to its distribution grid at the intersection of Holloway and 19th Avenues. Buried conduit was installed from the fuel cell complex running north of Thornton Hall and along 19th Avenue to Holloway Avenue, and six below-grade vaults installed at the edge of the walkways on 19th and Holloway. Click the image to enlarge



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