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Atmos Energy installs natural gas-powered fuel cell

Atmos Energy recently completed the installation of a natural gas-powered fuel cell at its corporate data center to generate high efficiency, grid-independent electricity with low emissions. The 460-kilowatt fuel cell generates electricity and heat through an electrochemical process with no combustion or moving parts – allowing it to deliver up to 90% system efficiency and much lower emissions, or emissions-free when coupled with renewable natural gas or carbon offsets.

“Natural gas once again proves it plays a pivotal role in lowering greenhouse gas emissions while increasing reliability to our critical facilities,” said Jennifer Ries, Atmos Energy vice president of pipeline safety. “We are excited to have this innovative technology operational and will continue to explore additional pathways to achieve increased reliability and a low carbon energy future.” 

According to the manufacturer, a natural gas-powered fuel cell offsets approximately three times more CO₂ than either solar or wind thanks to the fuel cell’s high efficiency, high-capacity factor and very low or zero emissions. A fuel cell also uses much less land than other renewable energy projects, generating nearly 500 times more power per square foot annually than solar or wind.

Natural gas remains the energy of choice for 3.4 MM Atmos Energy customers across eight states, and this project demonstrates the vital role natural gas plays as a safe and reliable driver of a lower carbon energy future. Looking ahead, Atmos Energy will work to power the fuel cell with renewable natural gas produced from methane captured at landfills and livestock farms or combine with carbon offsets, to further benefit the environment and deliver even greater sustainability.