Freiburg, Germany, home to new solar-powered hydrogen fuel stationMarch 12, 2012
Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry continues its work on establishing a working hydrogen fuel infrastructure and has built a new station in the city of Freiburg. This station is unlike the others that have been built in the country by the Ministry and government officials believe that it will be a good standard for future projects. The station is equipped with hydrogen fuel cells, but instead of getting their energy from natural gas or fossil-fuels, they are powered by solar power.
A large solar array is located on the roof of the station. The solar panels comprising the array produce electricity, which is funneled to the station’s hydrogen fuel cells. The electricity is then used to power the process of electrolysis, which generates hydrogen gas. This gas is then pressurized at the station into a liquid state. As a liquid, it can be used in vehicles equipped with fuel cells as an alternative to gasoline.
The Federal Environment Ministry claims that the hybrid system is much more efficient than any other hydrogen fuel station in the country. Officials say that a hydrogen-powered vehicle can come to the station and fuel up in less than three minutes. The Freiburg station will also serve as a research platform, enabling German scientists to examine the effectiveness of hydrogen production systems and figure out ways on how the process can be improved for future use.