Biogas Powered Fuel Cells are a Trending On-site Power Option

More and more big-name companies are installing fuel cells, some powered by biogas and some marketed as such, for on-site power production.

By Ron Kotrba, Biomass Magazine.

About 40,000 people pass through IKEA’s 274,000-square-foot furniture store in Emeryville, California, every week, but what few of them know is that the power to run the hopping San Francisco-area retail wonderland is produced on-site from rooftop solar arrays and a newly installed fuel cell system tucked away behind the building. “We really haven’t gotten too much response from customers about it,” says Lisa Ciccoli, IKEA Emeryville’s local marketing specialist. “Some of them see it in the back of the parking lot. It just looks like a generator. We’re going to work on a better PR campaign this fall to talk about all the things we are doing here.” 

IKEA’s investment in fuel cell technology at the Emeryville location—one of 40 retail stores in the U.S. and, according to Ciccoli, one of the smaller locations—reflects the company’s goal to be energy-independent by 2020 and complements other IKEA renewable programs in the U.S., including solar presence at nearly 90 percent of its locations, a geothermal heating and cooling system at two stores, and two wind farms totaling 104 turbines.