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Hydrogen Homes - Residential H2-Powered Houses, Cabins & Chalets

Hydrogen homes - who would have thunk it? The great hydrogen economy will not only be based upon travel using H2 as fuel. At some point, we will be seeing hydrogen in the homes as well. And why not?

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The same hydrogen fuel cells that will be one day propelling land vehicles, aircraft and watercraft will also be used to power homes and businesses as well. How can this be? Well, some home are already powered by propane, natural gas or solar energy. Hydrogen will be just another source for powering a home.

The evolution to powering a home by H2 will be up-in-the-air, so to speak as to how it will all iron out. For instance, one way to power a home is to use compressed hydrogen and run this through a fuel cell along with oxygen (O2) from the air to produce electricity. In essence, homes will run off of electricity by this method. Or homes could run off a combination of natural gas and electricity just as they do now will hydrogen supplying the oomph to start the electrical ball rolling.

Another way for homes to run off of hydrogen is for the homes to receive an electrical current from another source, generate hydrogen through electrolysis and then use this hydrogen to fuel your car and once again generate electricity. Now why would one want to use electricity to produce hydrogen to produce electricity? That's a great question.

By drawing electricity from the grid and using it for electrolysis to produce hydrogen, you can fuel your H2 cars as previously stated but you can also store the hydrogen for emergency uses when the power grid fails. Most likely, though, many home-owners will start using a combination of solar panels and rooftop wind turbines to produce electricity for their homes directly and hydrogen for vehicles and for times when the skies are calm and the sun is down.

According to the U. S. Fuel Cell Council, the early adopters for residential fuel cell technology will most likely be those in remote areas who are a distance away from high-power electrical lines or natural gas mains. Right now, these residents primarily use propane for a power source. Propane, oddly enough, can also be the carrier for hydrogen and power the H2 fuel cells.

As new battery storage technology develops, storing electricity generated by the hydrogen fuel cells will also work hand-in-hand with other systems. This will be especially valuable since fuel cells run constantly, even when the residential loads don't demand it, so storage will be essential.

FuelCells.org has an excellent and in-depth document for the technically-minded that outlines how fuel cells in home will one day become a reality. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory also has a lengthy and in-depth paper outlining hydrogen use for homes.

As costs for fuel cells continue to come down and beta-testers and the early adopters help to work out the kinks in the different systems, hydrogen homes will one day become a reality. And that day isn't too far off, really.

 

 

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