Ballard Power Systems and K2 Pure Solutions (K2) have finalized a sales agreement for deployment of a distributed generation fuel cell system to be sited at a K2 Pure Solutions bleach plant in Pittsburg, California.

Ballard’s CLEARgen fuel cell system will convert by-product hydrogen into clean load-following electricity that will partially offset power demand at the bleach plant.

The K2 Inherently Safe Technology Plant requires water, inert salt and electricity to produce bleach. The production process starts by passing electricity through a brine solution using advanced bi-polar membrane cell technology. Hydrogen is a by-product of this process.

The products of the electrolysis process are immediately reacted in a Continuous Bleach Plant which produces bleach of superior purity and quality.

The key to the process is the efficient cell membrane technology that has made it economical to operate. Once produced, the bleach can be safely and easily stored, transported and used for water purification and disinfection or any number of other applications.

The agreement between Ballard and K2 Pure Solutions anticipates receipt of a routine air permit exemption for the fuel cell system from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and a grant from the SGIP, with installation and commissioning planned for completion in early- to mid-2012.

The CLEARgen system will utilize by-product hydrogen that would otherwise be burned to generate heat. In supplementing its power requirements with the 163 kW fuel cell generator, K2 Pure Solutions will displace approximately 220 tons of CO2 emissions annually. This initial small-scale installation will be supported by California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which has to date created more than 337 megawatts of clean, rebated energy capacity for the state.

The CLEARgen fuel cell system is designed to be scalable from 163 kilowatts to over 10 megawatts.

For water utilities and other industries, K2’s safer produced bleach provides an alternative to conventionally made bleach, typically manufactured from chlorine transported by railcar.