Distributed Energy Systems’s subsidiaries Proton Energy and Northern Power are partnering with EVermont to build a PEM electrolysis hydrogen fueling station in Vermont.
The project is supported by a nearly $1 million Department of Energy (DOE) grant, which will be administered by the DOE’s Hydrogen, Fuel Cell, and Infrastructure Technologies Program.
PEM Water electrolysis uses electricity, a catalyst and a proton exchange membrane (PEM) to split water (H2O) into molecules of hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O). PEM electrolysis is essentially the reverse of a PEM fuel cell operation, in which hydrogen is the input and water and electricity the outputs.
The system, based on a Proton Energy H Series electrolyzer, will produce up to 12 kg of hydrogen per day, using water and electricity from the grid. The hydrogen will be compressed and stored on-site and then dispensed for hydrogen-fueled vehicles.
Electricity for the project will be supplied by Burlington Electric Department, which generated 42% of its power from renewable sources in 2004, including a wind turbine located adjacent to the Public Works site.
Vermont’s winter climate will provide a good testing ground for the effects of cold weather on the electrolyzer, hydrogen compression, and storage and delivery systems, as well as on hydrogen-fueled vehicles in general.
Proton is using the project to field-test new developments for its hydrogen generation systems.
- A new power converter is intended to improve cost, functionality and efficiency.
An advanced, lower cost, higher-efficiency PEM cell stack will be implemented under the project.
New packaging concepts will advance technology for outdoor environments and reduce the cost of manufacturing.
We anticipate that the Vermont station will validate a number of DOE hydrogen objectives, including reducing the cost of production, improving efficiency, and engineering an integrated system design and control. At the same time, the project results should help reduce some of the technical barriers to widespread application of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure.—Rob Friedland, SVP, Proton Hydrogen Technology Group