Fuel Cells to Power CBS Studios in California

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In what’s becoming a trend, CBS is the latest high-profile public corporation to turn to fuel cells as a means of “greening” its power supply. United Technologies Corp. subsidiary UTC Power is installing six PureCell stationary fuel cell systems at two CBS Studios’ production locations in California, it was announced today.

Three PureCell units are to be installed at CBS Studio Center, a production and office facility in Studio City with 18 sound stages. Another three will be installed at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, which houses eight sound stages and office space. The studios are home to shows including Entertainment Tonight, The Price is Right, CSI: NY, NCIS, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, according to UTC Power’s press release.

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Combined Heat & Clean Power

Making use of both the electrical power and heat — combined heat and power (CHP) — generated is a big advantage of fuel cell systems. The PureCell fuel cells will produce a total 2.4 MW of clean electrical power, enough to meet 40% and 60% of the studios’ respective power needs. Thermal energy from the fuel cell systems will be used for cooling both studios, as well as space and hot water heating at Television City.

The PureCell systems will also enhance the studios’ energy security. Four of the units will be configured for grid-independent operation, supplying electrical power to the studios in the event of a power outage, according to UTC Power.

“Fuel cells are a great fit for our business and sustainability goals,” commented aid Michael Klausman, president, CBS Studio Center & senior VP Operations, CBS Television City.

“With the installation of these PureCell systems, we will substantially increase our energy security by being able to continue operations in the event of a grid outage and, equally important, the installation is projected to reduce our impact on the environment and provide significant energy cost savings for our business.”

In terms of being more environmentally friendly, the PureCell systems rate highly. They’ll avoid some 2,370 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is the equivalent of planting nearly 550 acres of trees, according to UTC Power. Reductions in nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions, as compared to a conventional power plant, will equate to taking 357 petrol-powered cars off the road.

Installing the fuel cell systems will also conserve a lot in the way of water: CBS will save more than 2.8 million gallons of water per year, enough to fill 4-1/2 Olympic swimming pools, UTC Power notes.

“We are thrilled to provide fuel cells for CBS, a world-renowned company with a long and proud history,” commented Joe Triompo, UTC Power vice president and general manager. “Our efficient PureCell systems are a great fit for these busy studios and will help CBS to lower their energy costs, increase their energy security and reduce their environmental emissions by producing clean, reliable power on-site.”

Scheduled to be installed later this year, supporting funding is being provided by California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program. According to UTC Power, the PureCell systems being installed at CBS Studios will operate at an industry-leading 90% efficiency, with an industry-best fuel cell stack life of 10 years.

Photo Credit: UTC Power Fuel Cell Installation at WTC, NYC; courtesy UTC Power

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