Wind power is a gas

The US Department of Energy’s, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Xcel Energy recently signed a cooperative agreement for a “wind to hydrogen” research, development and demonstration project.


The US Department of Energy’s (DOE), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Xcel Energy recently signed a cooperative agreement for a “wind to hydrogen” research, development and demonstration project.



Researchers will analyse and compare hydrogen production from wind power and the electric grid. The hydrogen will be produced through electrolysis, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity.



The agreement supports the President’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, which seeks to develop the hydrogen, fuel cell and infrastructure technologies needed to make it practical and cost-effective for Americans to choose to use fuel cell vehicles by 2020.



The new wind-electrolysis system will be at NREL’s NationalWindTechnologyCenter, where hydrogen will be produced, compressed and stored to be used as a vehicle fuel or to generate electricity. The project will compare electrolyser technologies and researchers will examine issues related to system efficiency, integration, compression, storage, cost and the use of a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas.



“One unique feature of this system is the direct connection between the wind turbine and the electrolyser, which will make the system more efficient,” said Ben Kroposki, senior engineer at NREL’s Center for Electric and Hydrogen Technologies and Systems.



Xcel Energy plans to invest more than $1.25 million in the project. NREL and the Department of Energy plan to invest approximately $750,000.