Hydrogen based power offers green alternative for homes
September 7, 2007 In a development that marks another step towards the vision of a sustainable, clean future for home power generation, UK company ITM Power has announced the upcoming release of a device which can generate hydrogen in the home to fuel central heating boilers and cookers while drastically cutting CO2 emissions. Set to go into production next year, the ITM electrolyser is designed to utilize off-peak or renewable electricity sources to create its own hydrogen fuel which can then be stored and used as a conventional gas to burn in central heating boilers as well as a fuel for cooking.
Unlike gas and oil, when hydrogen burns it releases no CO2 emissions, merely water vapour, offering the opportunity to significantly cut Britain’s domestic carbon footprint. Stored hydrogen can also be reconverted to electricity using domestic fuel cells or generators to power lighting or other electrical appliances, removing the inconvenience of power cuts for homes and serious supply interruptions for hospitals, schools and businesses.
The system is aims to use a totally ‘green’ supply of electricity (available from wind, wave, solar or hydro-electric power) or alternatively, low cost off-peak electricity
This device depends upon an electrolyser stack of 10kW electrical input operating at pressures of 75 bar.
The company sees this as a major breakthrough in sustainable, non-polluting hydrogen technology and a major advance towards the UK Government’s goal of achieving a zero carbon new housing market by 2016. Currently domestic consumers account for over 20 per cent of the UK’s CO2 emissions.
Like the “Home Energy Station III” developed by Honda R&D and technology partner Plug Power, the ITM electrolyser system can be used to power a family car in addition to its use in the home. Later this year ITM Power plans to unveil a hydrogen home refuelling station for the automotive market and a converted bi-fuel petrol/hydrogen car based on the Ford Focus. The company aims to demonstrate that the car can be refuelled using hydrogen generated by a home electrolyser and can complete an average daily commuting journey without the need to utilize petrol.
“ITM Power is developing products which will not only revolutionize energy sources for the home but make a significant contribution to cutting CO2 emissions,” explained the company’s CEO Jim Heathcote.
“With stored hydrogen’s ability to provide not only fuel for heating and cooking but power, either through a conventional generator or a fuel cell, the prospect of energy self-sufficiency without the dependence on fossil fuels has moved dramatically closer,” he added.