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Technical Briefs

A Solar-Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Home and Research Platform

[+] Author and Article Information
David J. Palmer

Department of Engineering, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY 11024palmerd@usmma.edu

Gregory D. Sachs

Department of Engineering, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY 11024

William J. Sembler

Department of Engineering, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY 11024semblerw@usmma.edu

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 6(3), 034504 (May 13, 2009) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3006309 History: Received June 16, 2007; Revised February 28, 2008; Published May 13, 2009

The Solar-Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Home located at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, one of America’s five federal service academies, is believed to be the first of its kind in New York State and perhaps the nation. It represents a synergy of alternative-energy equipment that uses the sun’s energy to create electricity to power the home or surrounding community. Furthermore, it creates hydrogen gas that can be used as a fuel for a variety of applications. The hydrogen produced has two main purposes. First, the hydrogen supplies a fuel cell that produces electricity for the home in the evenings or during days when it is cloudy. Second, the hydrogen can be used to fill up the fuel tank of an environmentally friendly hydrogen-powered automobile after a typical day of operation. There are three primary objectives of this paper. The first objective is to provide a technical overview of the home’s energy systems. This includes an overview of the various monitoring devices, followed by a discussion on how these types of energy systems can help meet the needs of sustainability and energy independence. Building upon this information, the second objective is to perform an analysis of the current system configuration, including the solar array capacity, fuel cell size, and quantity of hydrogen that can be produced versus what is required for the home to be energy self-sufficient. The third objective is to explore existing maritime and military applications and to suggest future applications that may stem from research of this cutting-edge Solar-Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Home and research platform.

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Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1

Solar-Hydrogen Home ribbon cutting: far left to right: Mr. Greg Sachs, Empower; Dr. David Palmer, Chairman of USMMA Engineering Department; Chairman Richard Kessel, LIPA; Dean DiMaio and President Guiliano, NYIT; and President Schroeder, Distributed Energy Systems; also shown: Richard King, Director of Solar Decathlon, DOE; President Saillant, Plug Power; Capt. Doug Brown, USMMA; and Tom DiNapoli, Comptroller of New York State.

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Figure 2

Simplified Solar-Hydrogen Home energy system graphic: EmPower CES LLC

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