New modular green hydrogen gas station keeps everything above the ground


Fans of green hydrogen have much to celebrate these days as one huge mega-project takes shape after another, but there is also some interesting activity bubbling up on the small end of the scale. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a new modular, off-grid, aboveground, rainwater harvesting, solar-powered hydrogen fuel station in Australia. Wait, the United States doesn’t have one too?

Keep it off the ground

Above ground is the keyword here. Electric cars have props so they don’t have anything sticking out of their tailpipes, and they also have that added benefit of not contributing to the LUST problem, which for some reason no one is talking about. However, people should talk about it, because LUST is a big deal – for gasoline motorcycles, that is.

It’s LUST, like in leaky underground storage tanks. When you get to your local gas station, not all of your gas comes out of this little thing sticking out of the ground. It comes from a storage tank below the surface. Not all of them flee, of course. There are plenty of them, however, and some of them seep into the ground, potentially affecting people who depend on underground aquifers for drinking, which the EPA says includes about half of the U.S. population.

Here in the United States, in 1984, Congress finally passed legislation requiring remedial action for old leaking underground tanks for petroleum and other dangerous liquids, setting standards for new ones, and instructing the EPA to create a program to deal with all this mess. Since then, the law has been strengthened and broadened, but the problem persists.

Although the EPA calculates that 37 states closed about 90% of their problematic sites over the past 20 years, 544,000 underground storage tanks remain. They require constant monitoring, correction and removal if necessary, and a quick walk through the Intertubes reveals many holes in the program.

“Tackling LUST sites remaining to be cleaned up continues to be a high priority for the EPA and our state, territorial and tribal partners,” the EPA wrote recently, introducing the idea that a backlog of cases remains. , even as new. arise.

Modular above ground green hydrogen refueling station to the rescue

One obvious solution to the LUST problem is to store your hazardous liquids above the ground, where you can monitor them. Another part of the solution is to store only the minimum necessary to meet short-term needs, and that’s where green hydrogen comes in.

For those of you new to hydrogen, most of the world’s hydrogen supply is produced by removing it from natural gas, which is why hydrogen fuel cell cars are the target. climate action advocates. They have no tailpipe emissions, but they drag a long tail of fossil fuel baggage behind them.

Green hydrogen from renewable resources could solve this problem. It was a cake-in-the-sky idea, until the last few years when the cost of wind and solar power started to crumble like a stone. This paved the way for electrolysis, which refers to systems that apply an electric current to water and cause green hydrogen to spurt out.

This opens the door to hydrogen filling stations that can store green hydrogen in aboveground tanks. Add a water tank and maybe add a battery for extra energy storage, and all you need is out in the open.

That finally brings us to the latest news on green hydrogen gas stations. The company Hydrogen Fuels Australia just dropped the word that foresees a new hydrogen gas station are underway for the Melbourne suburb of Truganina, which will give it the right to boast the very first modular off-grid green hydrogen production and fuel station in all of Australia.

“Based on environmentally friendly and ‘low impact’ concepts, the H2FA operation uses its own electrolysis assets (in island mode) to convert renewable energy into green hydrogen,” the company explains, emphasizing that it is a modular off-grid system and not a grid-connected system.

The sustainable element includes harvesting rainwater to power the electrolysis system.

Growing Global Green Hydrogen Technology Network

H2FA also points out that the site is not one-off. It will serve as an R&D center to refine the technology and intensify the production of green hydrogen.

The project also shows how the international knowledge base and supply chain is pivoting towards green hydrogen.

Project partners include an Australian company Skaï Energies in the same way Nilsson Energy from Sweden to manage the site’s microgrid, with Green Hydrogen systems from Denmark supplying the electrolysers, and the American firm Plug Power supplying the site.

If you’re not surprised to see Plug Power in the Green Hydrogen Mix, join the club. CleanTechnica first took note of Plug Power in 2010, when it brought hydrogen fuel cell forklifts to the masses. This was before the green hydrogen industry started to emerge. Now that he has, Connect the power still looking at all kinds of hydrogen mobility devices, but apparently he’s also realized that green hydrogen production is a source of money.

A 750 kilowatt solar panel will power the electrolysis system at the Truganina site. Initial plans call for 60 to 90 kilograms of green hydrogen per day, eventually reaching 3,000 kilograms. H2FA calculates this will provide enough to power over 100 vehicles per day.

More modular renewable hydrogen fuel stations for the United States

If all goes as planned, the new H2FA gas station will be operational next year. The company is already planning to expand the concept to Victoria and the rest of Australia.

So what about the United States? Although hydrogen fuel cell passenger cars have struggled to gain a foothold in the market, a growing number of automakers are turning to the realm of long-haul trucks and other heavy-duty uses. Quick refueling, long battery life and high power are the basic advantages.

The US Department of Energy, for its part, is a big fan. Earlier this month, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced that hydrogen would be the first area of ​​focus under the new Earthshots Innovation Initiative, modeled on the successful Moonshot and Sunshot programs.

The Earthshots initiative follows a growing movement among hydrogen players in the United States to generate interest in green hydrogen as a decarbonisation route, and not just for mobility purposes. In a particularly remarkable development that should thrill natural gas stakeholders, the historic power plant company Mitsubishi has developed a new gas turbine for power plants specially designed to gradually integrate green hydrogen with natural gas, until ” that sufficient supplies are available for 100% green hydrogen operations.

Ouch! Hopefully, these green hydrogen power plants will do a better job under climate impacts than natural gas power plants. Natural gas was supposed to be a cleaner “bridge” fuel to deep decarbonization, but on the one hand its cleanliness is in question, and on the other hand, it does not seem up to delivering electricity in such a way. reliable during periods of heat as well as cold.

You look, Texas. In an interesting twist, earlier this year Texas launched a project to explore the development of a regional hydrogen hub, taking advantage of its considerable wind and solar resources, so maybe help is in. road.

Follow me on twitter @TinaMCasey.

Image (screenshot): Courtesy of Hydrogen Fuels Australia.

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