- Published: 19 December 2006 19 December 2006
Xcel Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory have unveiled a unique facility that uses electricity from wind turbines to produce and store pure hydrogen.
The facility links two wind turbines to devices called electrolyzers, which pass the wind-generated electricity through water to split the liquid into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can be stored and used later to generate electricity from either an internal combustion engine turning a generator or from a fuel cell. In either case, there are no harmful emissions, and the only by-product from using the hydrogen fuel is water. On site is a new building that houses the electrolyzers and a device to compress the hydrogen for storage; four large, high-tech tanks to store the hydrogen; a generator run by an engine that burns hydrogen; and a control room building, where computers monitor all the steps of the process. Xcel Energy and NREL are each paying part of the US$2 million budget for the two-year project.