DOE Integrated Technology Validation Projects
Integrated hydrogen and fuel cell systems will maximize overall system efficiencies, reduce costs, and optimize component development. DOE's Fuel Cell Technologies Office has a number of demonstrations underway to develop, evaluate, and validate the performance of integrated systems such as Power Parks.
The status of DOE's integrated technology validation projects is detailed in the technology validation section of the Annual Progress Report.
Highlights of some of DOE's integrated systems demonstrations now underway are summarized on this page.
Wind/Electrolysis Integrated System Demonstration
To date, only a few studies have investigated the feasibility of producing hydrogen using utility-scale wind turbines, and none of these have considered the possibility of optimizing the wind turbine design for hydrogen production. Variable speed wind turbines rely on power electronics to convert the variable frequency and variable voltage AC electricity produced at the wind turbine generator to DC electricity, which, when connected to the grid must be then converted back to AC electricity at grid frequency (60 Hz). Electrolyzers designed for grid-connected operation also incorporate power electronics to convert AC electricity from the grid to DC power required by the electrolyzer cell stack. Because these power converters represent a significant percentage of the total cost of the wind turbine and electrolyzer, designing single power electronics packages can reduce the overall cost of integrated systems. A project to demonstrate integrated renewable/electrolysis systems is now underway at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
- Advanced Control Design and Field Testing for Wind Turbines at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Preprint (2004)
- Optimized Hydrogen and Electricity Generation from Wind (2003)
Hydrogen and Electricity Co-Production Facility
The world's first hydrogen and electricity co-production facility opened in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November 2002. The facility (built by Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., in partnership with Plug Power, Inc., the U.S. Department of Energy, and the City of Las Vegas) will serve as a "learning" demonstration of hydrogen as a safe and clean energy alternative for vehicle refueling. The facility includes small-scale, on-site hydrogen production technologies, a hydrogen/compressed natural gas blend refueling facility, and a 50-kW PEM fuel cell system that supplies electricity to the grid. The fueling station and power plant are located at the existing City of Las Vegas Fleet & Transportation Western Service Center. Other partners include NRG Technologies in Reno, Nevada, who is retrofitting the 6 buses donated by the City of Las Vegas that will be refueled at this station, and the University of Las Vegas, who is modifying a bus to burn hydrogen in an internal combustion engine and to store the hydrogen in a compressed tank. Learn more: