STRATFORD — Sikorsky Aircraft earned recognition from the University of New Haven, receiving the Exemplary Partner Award from the school’s Tagliatela College of Engineering for the company’s support of the Tagliatela’s programming over its five-year partnership with the school.
Sikorsky’s vice president of engineering and research says UNH is a prime source of engineering talent for the company. The two have notably partnered for the two-week Team-based Engineering and Manufacturing (TEAM) Summer Camp at the university, which gives high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students a hands-on introduction to engineering projects.
In other United Technologies Corp. news (Sikorsky is a UTC subsidiary), UTC Aerospace Systems was awarded a $22 million U.S. Air Force contract to provide upgraded wheels and brakes for 475 of its F-15 aircraft. The contract also has a follow-on option valued at $30 million.
DANBURY — The future for Fuel Cell Energy is looking green.
The designer and manufacturer of clean-energy fuel cell power plants is undertaking $65 million expansion project in two stages, all with a little help from the state Department of Economic & Community Development, which is providing a $20 million loan for the project.
The first ($23 million) stage involves expanding Fuel Cell Energy’s 65,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Danbury by an additional 90,000 square feet, which is slated for completion in 2016. Manufacturing equipment will be added as needed to increase annual production capacity from the current 100 megawatts to at least 200 megawatts.
The second ($42 million) stage involves the installation of a fuel cell to power and heat the facility, testing and prototype manufacturing capabilities, as well as provide hydrogen for the manufacture of fuel-cell components. Additional manufacturing will also be relocated from Fuel Cell’s Torrington facility to Danbury.
Half of the state’s $20 million loan will be allotted to each phase of the project, repayable at two-percent interest over 15 years. A total of $10 million will be forgivable if the company maintains and creates additional jobs, and the expansion qualifies for a further $10 million in Urban and Industrial Sites reinvestment tax credits.
Fuel Cell currently employs 625 workers globally, and has customers in nine countries.