Solar Hydrogen Station Inaugurated by Fraunhofer ISE

05 Mar 2012

Fraunhofer ISEOn Friday 2nd March, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) inaugurated a solar hydrogen refuelling station in Freiburg, Germany. Funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Energy, the public-access station is both a research platform and another milestone in establishing the country’s hydrogen infrastructure.

The power requirement for the production and storage of the hydrogen is partly covered by photovoltaic panels on the roof of the hydrogen station as well as neighbouring buildings. The station thus demonstrates an entire clean energy chain, using electrolysis of water to convert clean, renewable energy from the sun into hydrogen for transportation.  A dual benefit is gained: the hydrogen is a storage medium for renewable solar electricity and a zero-emission fuel for fuel cell electric vehicles.

The station itself essentially consists of a 30 bar pressure electrolyser, a mechanical compressor for the compression of the hydrogen to 700 bar, caching on two different pressure levels and fuel dispensers. It can refuel fuel cell cars, buses and bicycles (Fraunhofer is developing customised fuel cell systems for the latter). Fuel cells offer a number of substantial advantages in electric vehicles:  refuelling can be accomplished in as little as three minutes and most FCEVs now have at least a 400 kilometre range per tank filling.

For Fraunhofer researchers, the station serves as a reference project for further developments in emission-free mobility plus proving the use of electrolysers as controllable load to stabilise an electricity grid which integrates a significant proportion of fluctuating renewable energy sources.

For more information:

Source (in German): Innovations Report

Image: the Fraunhofer ISE building in Freiburg (Photo by Joachim S. Müller)

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