04 Nov 2008 05:11:43
Home gets hydrogen fuel cell
A hydrogen fuel cell is being trialled in a West Midlands home to discover whether hydrogen could replace fossil fuels as an energy source.
In a shed in the garden of the house, the University of Birmingham has installed a hydrogen fuel cell and a reformer which converts the natural gas piped through existing infrastructure into hydrogen.
To generate power, the hydrogen is combined with oxygen to form water while creating electricity and heat.
The device, which will generate 1.5 kilowatts of electricity and three kilowatts of heat, is to power the newly-built home's electricity, water and central heating.
Scientists at the University of Birmingham will monitor the equipment remotely to track its efficiency, performance, operation and durability.
Richard Baines, director of sustainable development at Black Country Housing Group, said: "Hydrogen fuel cells are leading the way when it comes green energy and it's our belief in this technology that has driven us to install the fuel cell.
"Minimising impact on the environment is everyone's responsibility, but as a social housing landlord we are able to make a real difference to the technology used in homes."
And professor Kevin Kendal of the University of Birmingham predicted that all homes would "ultimately" have similar units.
According to estimates from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, homes are the highest end producer of carbon dioxide emissions in 28 per cent of local authorities.http://tinyurl.com/6zj43h