Hydrogen fuel cells to power homes in the UK through pilot project

July 17, 2014 0 By Stephen Vagus

Hydrogen fuel powered homes

Pilot project aims to examine the viability of fuel cells

A new pilot project is being launched by property managers in the United Kingdom. Your Housing, Rykneld Homes, Housing 21, and South Essex Homes have come together to put hydrogen fuel cells to use in the residential sector.  These energy systems have seen a small amount of use as residential energy systems outside of Japan. The pilot project aims to examine the viability of these energy systems and how they could be used to reduce energy consumption.

Interest in fuel cells is beginning to grow

The last time a fuel cell was used in a residential energy project was six years ago, when Black Country Housing made use of a fuel cell system to power property. While this particular initiative had generated some questions as to whether or not fuel cells could be effective residential energy systems, interest in these energy systems died out relatively quickly. With hydrogen fuel cells becoming very popular in the transportation sector, questions regarding their use in other sectors are beginning to circulate once again.

A single fuel cell system may be able to generate enough power for four homes

The pilot project will be managed by Spark, an energy company operating in the United Kingdom. Bluegen will provide the fuel cells needed for the pilot project. According to Spark, installing a fuel cell system in a single home costs approximately $40,000, but the energy system is capable enough to provide electrical power to four other homes. These energy systems also produce significant amounts of heat while generating electricity. This heat can be used for various purposed, such as heating water or simply providing heat for a home.

Japan sets an example in residential fuel cell use

In Japan, hydrogen fuel cells are becoming quite common in the residential space. These energy systems saw a great deal of use in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2010, when much of Japan’s nuclear energy was shut off due to a major natural disaster. Japan may serve as an example as to how fuel cells can be used to power the residential sector in a more environmentally friendly way.

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