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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

UK Hydrogen House Connected to Grid

hydrogen house

Hydrogen power is usually associated with vehicles, but a house in the UK is showing that there are a multitude of uses for fuel cells. The grid-connected West Midlands home is powered by hydrogen as part of a £2 million University of Birmingham and Black County Housing Group (BCHG) project.

The grid-connected house generates all its energy from a fuel-cell unit in a shed behind the house, which converts bog-standard natural gas into hydrogen. A 600 liter tank placed next to the fuel cell unit stores hot water, and excess electricity from the unit is sent to the grid.

The house’s fridge-sized fuel cell unit can generate 1.5kW of electricity and 3kW of heat—including hot water and space heating.

Apparently, the team behind the house believes that everyone will have hydrogen fuel cell units in their homes at some point in the future. But much more research needs to be done before fuel cells are energy and cost-efficient enough to be worth a switchover from natural gas.

Photo Credit: SmartPlanet