In Denmark the community of Lolland, an island located in the Baltic Sea, is proving that they can live on hydrogen power alone. The project started in 2006 because of a problem the Danes had at the time. They produced 50 percent more electricity from wind power than they used. To save this energy from being wasted, they developed a plan to create the first full-scale hydrogen-powered city.
The project is known as the Lolland Hydrogen Community and their vision is to be the European role model for testing and implementation of full-scale hydrogen technology which can support the whole community. The plan has three phases to retrofit and redesign the infrastructure of the village of Vestenskov on Lolland. When the plan is completed, all the homes in the town will be supported solely by hydrogen energy. Phase one started with a demonstration facility for residential Fuel Cell Combined Heat and Power, build in the town of Naskov.
The hydrogen is stored in low pressure tanks and then with the use of a fuel cell it generates electricity and heat, supplying the public energy grids. This first step was geared to optimize existing resources on Lolland as well as create new symbioses with existing energy and environmental facilities. Because this would be the first full-scale development of its kind, the Danes also felt they needed to de-mystify hydrogen technology to the people that would eventually use it. The demonstration plant uses centralized production of hydrogen to make electricity and heat which is then used to heat buildings in the area. In the end, the way in which the energy is created and delivered is same as conventional large scale infrastructure.
In 2008, phase two began. There were to different aspects to this phase. The first was to connect many of the existing buildings to the hydrogen plant. The second part of the phase began to redefine the relationship of energy provider and end-user, because small-size individual fuel cell units were placed in five homes. The unit contains a 2kW fuel cell stack and an alternating current (AC) converter. Once hooked up, the device replaces the existing boiler. These fuel cells are no bigger than a regular sized refrigerator provides domestic electricity and heating needs for residents. This is a pure decentralize approach where energy creation occurred within each house, and a larger energy producer is not necessary to transmit electricity from utility scale facilities. Five houses were selected as test cases and the micro-CHP units were installed. These decentralized micro-fuel cells are more efficient and have greater security of energy supply. Phase two allowed authorities to test safety and operational stability for the units before they were deployed to more buildings.
The final phase will run from 2010 to 2012. An additional 35 to 40 more households will receive the 2 kW units. These fuel cells will also provide both heat and electricity for the homes. Currently the houses in Vestenskov are heated by natural gas or oil. Because the hydrogen is created from excess wind, the power is 100 percent carbon neutral.
Source: Hydrogen Community