To the editor,
In the July 17 issue there is a letter from George Sirois with queries about the proposed plant. His speculation is absolutely correct. The energy to separate the hydrogen from the natural gas does come from additional natural gas.
A fuel cell uses more total energy from the gas that it can produce as electrical power. This is a given. No fuel cell power plant has ever made a profit when the power output was only to feed the grid.
The combustion products of a fuel cell are outwardly less obnoxious than those of a direct combustion process, but the overall impact of fuel cell products from a such large plant have not been explained away. From the data supplied, my calculations indicate that the plant in Beacon Falls will emit well over a ton of carbon dioxide per hour, 24 hours a day in gaseous form. This gas in non-toxic but not healthful. It is also the gas that is causing all the concern about global warming being caused by man. It is heavier than clean air and could settle in low areas if the weather conditions would allow it.
The other primary discharge is the huge amount of super-heated water vapor. At a temperature over 600 degrees it would be discharging about 85 gallons of water per minute continuously. Under some conditions, I think this could cause big problems with local fog or icing. These conclusions should really be reviewed by technical specialists, like meteorologists and medical doctors, not by the developers.