This story from July of 2019 reminds us that things thought impossible by fuel cell technolgy skeptics, can really work and the future of the technology is here and now.
In Prettau in Ahrntal, the world’s first hydrogen residential building was recently opened.
The future of energy management for a home in the form of an autonomous cycle of self-production and self-sufficiency throughout the year: GKN Sinter Metals presented a groundbreaking novelty on Saturday – the first in the world.
This is an important contribution to the future development of the “Green Region South Tyrol”, as Governor Arno Kompatscher emphasized at the opening.
An energy self-sufficient house in a climatic challenging position as a research project: The sustainably produced energy is stored in the form of hydrogen in order to ensure the required consumption over the year. The Energy Management System incorporates unique, innovative H2 storage technology in metal powders, developed and manufactured by GKN Sinter Metals. The challenge is above all the climatic conditions at this altitude in the farthest Ahrntal with particularly cold winters and thus increased energy requirements.
Energy Management System
A novel, flexible energy management system can balance the peaks between production and consumption – common in regenerative energy sources such as wind, water or sun – and store and retrieve the energy throughout the year. The system consists of the production of hydrogen via electrolysis by the energy obtained through a turbine (hydropower). The recovered hydrogen is stored in metal powder via the new H2 storage technology and, if necessary, converted back into electricity via a fuel cell as soon as energy is needed. The system is also ideal for use as an emergency power supply.
Heart of metal hydride storage
“Thanks to the pilot project, we have been able to store energy in the form of hydrogen in metal powder, for the needs-based energy supply of buildings and as an important step in terms of CO2 neutrality,” explained Peter Oberparleiter. The South Tyrolean is responsible for managing the entire group GKN Powder Metallurgy: “The technology is particularly suitable for the sensitive high alpine region, as it can be used 100 percent CO2-neutral, for example in shelters or in alpine pastures.” The advantages The novel H2 storage technology in metal powders to previously common systems are obvious: safe storage at low pressure in smaller tanks, high energy efficiency through thermal management, seasonally flexible storage and the largest possible storage volume.
Official opening and open house
Governor Arno Kompatscher spoke at the opening of the research project in Kasern-Prettau of an important contribution to the “Green Region South Tyrol and an exemplary technical innovation. The problem of storage of sustainably generated energy is thus brought to a solution. This is an important step into the future and South Tyrol is in the forefront. “Prettau’s mayor Robert Steger was pleased that the research project was realized in the former miners’ house, which is also being renovated and preserved as a historic monument. The blessing of the building was made by Rev. Josef Profanter. The official opening turned into an open house for the entire population, which attracted lots of visitors from near and far.