To maximize overall system efficiencies, reduce costs, and optimize component development, optimized integrated hydrogen and fuel cell systems must be developed and validated. Novel new approaches such as Power Parks, which "marry" the transportation and electricity generation markets in synergistic ways, and integrated renewable hydrogen production systems, which combine electrolysis powered by wind, solar, and other power, are under investigation.
The Power Park concept includes steady production of hydrogen and use of a fuel cell to produce electricity. When excess hydrogen is available, it is stored for use when electricity demand is high and to refuel vehicles. The advantages of producing both hydrogen and electricity in Power Parks include: providing access to better natural gas rates because of higher volume compared with a facility used only for refueling, facilitating staged implementation of refueling components to better match the demand from vehicles, and allowing use of a larger reformer, which will lower the per-unit capital costs of hydrogen production. The Power Park concept is amenable to distributed production of hydrogen from natural gas and opens the possibility of incorporating wind and solar energy effectively.
To learn more about integrated technology validation projects now underway, see:
Additional DOE integrated technology validation activities include: