University of Toronto at Mississauga is going to have one of the first solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power plants. The demonstration, pre-commercial demonstration plant is being provided by Ontario Power Generation.
The SOFC plant generates electricity from hydrogen atoms without producing harmful emissions. Carbon dioxide and hot water are the only by-products. The fuel cell works like a battery, using a lanthanum manganate cathode (positively charged) and a nickel-zirconia anode (negatively charged). Sandwiched between the two is a thin layer of zirconium oxide and a solid ceramic acting as the electrolyte. Electricity is generated through the electrochemical reaction of the hydrogen-rich natural gases and oxygen.
The fuel cell plant should produce about 250 kilowatts and will feed into the power and hot water grid of the Mississauga campus.