New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) has laid claim to building “America’s First Solar-Hydrogen Home.” The 800-square foot house in Kings Point, New York was constructed as part of an international competition, the 2005 Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The hydrogen home was built in cooperation with the US Merchant Marine Academy, which played a key role in the engineering of the solar-hydrogen system. Some of the major components of the system include a Proton Energy Systems HOGEN 40RE Electrolyzer, Plug Power GenCore 5 kW Fuel Cell and 54 Sanyo HIT 200 Photovoltaics.
The home’s solar panel creates electricity, which is used to electrolyze the water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then run through the fuel cell to generate electricity for the home. Now, one may wonder why the electricity from the solar panels does not generate electricity directly for the home. The best guess would be that hydrogen is being stored as an energy carrier that can be used to power the home at night, on cloudy days or in the winter when there is less sun to power the solar panels.
At least this is how it works for Mike Strizki’s solar-hydrogen home in East Amwell, New Jersey. While the NYIT is claiming to have build America’s first solar-hydrogen home, Strizki is claiming to have built America’s first consumer solar-hydrogen home as his house sits upon 12-acres in the Sourland Mountains and he even has a hydrogen car parked in his garage.
No matter which claim to be the first is more relevant, the important point is that the process of developing a hydrogen-based economy has begun. Hydrogen may be coming soon to a home near you.