Monday, January 16, 2006

Green Car Congress: Hydrogenics to Supply Hydrogen Refuelling Station for Wind Hydrogen Project

A problem with wind energy is its variability. Obviously, some days the wind blows, sometimes a lot, and other days it's still. But what if the wind is still on a day you really need it? Wind energy offers a great environmental story, because nothing could be cleaner (so long as you site/design the turbines to avoid birds) ... but if you can't use the wind power on days you need it, then you need a different power source. Or, perhaps you can capture the energy derived from the wind, store that energy somehow, and use the energy later drawing it from wherever it was stored.

Energy is energy. Physics tells us several ways to store energy, such as winding up a spring, running a flywheel, pumping water uphill, storing heat, etc.

In Hydrogenics to Supply Hydrogen Refuelling Station for Wind Hydrogen Project they talk of hydrogen. The electricity coming out of a wind turbine can be used to electrolyze hydrogen. You store the hydrogen, and later do something to generate electricity again using the hydrogen. For example you could run it through a fuel cell and generate electricity, or you could simply burn it and capture the heat to turn a turbine.

The article talks about North Dakota as "the Saudi Arabia of wind". An interesting analogy, except that Saudi Arabia is sitting on a dwindling resource, while the wind is endless.

Hydrogenics is a company specializing in hydrogen based systems for onsite hydrogen generation, power systems, and test systems.


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