Final Technical Report: Hawaii Hydrogen Center for Development and Deployment of Distributed Energy Systems

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Hydrogen power park experiments in Hawai‘i produced real-world data on the performance of commercialized electrochemical components and power systems integrating renewable and hydrogen technologies. By analyzing the different losses associated with the various equipment items involved, this work identifies the different improvements necessary to increase the viability of these technologies for commercial deployment. The stand-alone power system installed at Kahua Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii required the development of the necessary tools to connect, manage and monitor such a system. It also helped the electrolyzer supplier to adapt its unit to the stand-alone power system application. Hydrogen fuel ... continued below

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Rocheleau, Richard E. September 30, 2008.

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Hydrogen power park experiments in Hawai‘i produced real-world data on the performance of commercialized electrochemical components and power systems integrating renewable and hydrogen technologies. By analyzing the different losses associated with the various equipment items involved, this work identifies the different improvements necessary to increase the viability of these technologies for commercial deployment. The stand-alone power system installed at Kahua Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii required the development of the necessary tools to connect, manage and monitor such a system. It also helped the electrolyzer supplier to adapt its unit to the stand-alone power system application. Hydrogen fuel purity assessments conducted at the Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) fuel cell test facility yielded additional knowledge regarding fuel cell performance degradation due to exposure to several different fuel contaminants. In addition, a novel fitting strategy was developed to permit accurate separation of the degradation of fuel cell performance due to fuel impurities from other losses. A specific standard MEA and a standard flow field were selected for use in future small-scale fuel cell experiments. Renewable hydrogen production research was conducted using photoelectrochemical (PEC) devices, hydrogen production from biomass, and biohydrogen analysis. PEC device activities explored novel configurations of ‘traditional’ photovoltaic materials for application in high-efficiency photoelectrolysis for solar hydrogen production. The model systems investigated involved combinations of copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) and hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H). A key result of this work was the establishment of a robust “three-stage” fabrication process at HNEI for high-efficiency CIGS thin film solar cells. The other key accomplishment was the development of models, designs and prototypes of novel ‘four-terminal’ devices integrating high-efficiency CIGS and a-Si:H with operating features compatible with high-efficiency photoelectrochemical (PEC) water-splitting. The objective of one activity under the hydrogen production from biomass task was to conduct parametric testing of the Pearson gasifier and to determine the effects of gasifier operating conditions on the gas yields and quality. The hydrogen yield from this gasifier was evaluated in a parametric test series over a range of residence times from 0.8 to 2.2 seconds. H2 concentrations as high as 55% (volume) were measured in the product gas at the longer residence times and this corresponds to a hydrogen yield of 90 kg per tonne of bagasse without gas upgrading. The objective of another activity was to develop hot gas clean-up capabilities for the HNEI gasifier test facility to support hydrogen-from-biomass research. The product gas stream at the outlet of the hot gas filter was characterized for concentrations of permanent gas species and contaminants. Biomass feedstock processing activity included a preliminary investigation into methods for processing sugar cane trash at the Puunene Sugar Factory on the island of Maui, Hawaii. The objective of the investigation was to explore treatment methods that would enable the successful use of cane trash as fuel for the production of hydrogen via gasification. Analyses were completed for the technical and economic feasibility of producing biofuel from photosynthetic marine microbes on a commercial scale. Results included estimates for total costs, energy efficiency, and return on investment. The biohydrogen team undertook a comprehensive review of the field and came to what is considered a realistic conclusion. To summarize, continued research is recommended in the fundamentals of the science related to genetic engineering and specific topics to cover knowledge gaps. In the meantime, the team also advocates continued development of related processes which can be linked to pollution control and other real world applications. The extra revenues hydrogen can provide to these multi-product systems can improve profitability. The fact of the matter, though, is that the focused commercialization of hydrogen from biological processes awaits some necessary scientific breakthroughs and much higher conventional energy prices.

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  • Report No.: DOE-GO14248-1
  • Grant Number: FC36-04GO14248
  • DOI: 10.2172/943585 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 943585
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc897069

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  • September 30, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2016, 3:51 p.m.

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Rocheleau, Richard E. Final Technical Report: Hawaii Hydrogen Center for Development and Deployment of Distributed Energy Systems, report, September 30, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc897069/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.