Friday, January 20, 2006

Filling Up With Wind Power

CarbonFree News: "Filling Up With Wind Power

Filling Up With Wind Power

Hydrogenics has been awarded a contract by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Bismarck, N.D., to supply an electrolyser-based hydrogen refuelling station for installation in Minot, N.D. In addition to the core electrolyser module, Hydrogenics is supplying compression, storage and dispenser equipment as part of the contract. The station is one of the first United States-based hydrogen fuelling stations to use electricity from a wind power resource to produce hydrogen from water, in this case using electricity generated by wind resources either owned or contracted by Basin Electric.
The hydrogen produced will be used to refuel hydrogen-powered vehicles, demonstrating a linkage between wind power and vehicle refuelling. Recognizing the challenge presented by the intermittency and varying outputs of wind power, an important element of the project is the development of various control schemes by which the electrolyser can interface with the electrical output of wind turbines to optimise fuel production, particularly during low electricity demand periods. The project will demonstrate the ability and practicality of making and using hydrogen energy with zero carbon emissions, using excess wind power that might otherwise be under-utilised. This capability can potentially lead to significantly enhanced overall efficiencies of existing and future wind power installations.

The installation of this electrolyser fuelling station at North Dakota State University's North Central Research Extension Centre, scheduled for the latter part of 2006, is an integral component of a Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored Wind Hydrogen project announced by Senator Byron Dorgan's office in September 2004. The Senator, a national leader in the drive to bring hydrogen and wind energy into mainstream use, has been instrumental in the creation and advancement of this unique multi-phase project.

"This is Hydrogenics' third undertaking to show how hydrogen technologies can add significant value and benefits to investments that people are making today in wind power in many parts of the world," comments Pierre Rivard, Hydrogenics President and Chief Executive Officer. "While Hydrogenics has the depth and versatility to make hydrogen using different technologies and feedstocks, the generation of totally clean, sustainable and cost-effective hydrogen is where we believe the greatest potential exists for growth in hydrogen infrastructure. Securing opportunities, such as this one with a wind energy leader like Basin Electric, in the home state of Senator Dorgan - hydrogen's most recognized political proponent in the United States - is a significant win for our company to validate our technology and bring us closer to this end game."

"Promoting and demonstrating how hydrogen technologies can further enhance our wind energy goals is a key component of North Dakota's ongoing energy strategy," said Ron Rebenitsch, Basin Electric Manager of Member Marketing. "We believe hydrogen technology can become an important part of our future energy mix, and we are pleased to be playing a role in this ground-breaking project. Through this project we are advancing North Dakota's reputation for developing renewable energy technologies and contributing to a national objective to reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels."

The hydrogen electrolyser will be constructed at the Research Extension Centre with the support of Verendrye Electric, Velva, N.D., and Central Power Electric Cooperative, Minot.