The US Department of Energy has selected DTE Energy as its partner in a project that will use fuel cells to generate power for an office park.
The project will demonstrate how a non-fossil, fuel-based energy system can work, from the generation of hydrogen, to its transmission, storage, distribution and, ultimately, its conversion into electricity or fuel for transportation.
Over the next three years, DTE Energy will develop, build and operate an integrated hydrogen energy system capable of delivering 15,000 kilowatthours of environmentally friendly electricity per year.
DTE Energy will partner with several leading technology providers, including Plug Power, a fuel cell development and manufacturing company in which DTE Energy has a 28% stake. In addition, DTE Energy will use the Systems Operations Centre of its DTE Energy Technologies subsidiary to gather, analyse and document engineering data and safety standards.
The system will run on hydrogen generated from renewable resources. During off-peak operating hours, electricity from landfill gas or a conventional power station will produce hydrogen gas from pure water through the use of electrolysis. The hydrogen will then be compressed and stored for later use.
During peak operating hours, the stored hydrogen will be used to operate a 50kW fuel cell and a 25kW Stirling Engine or advanced reciprocating engine. The electricity produced will be used to offset the normal energy requirements of a typical office park, while the heat generated will be used to supplement existing heating and cooling systems.