Read more, direct from ITM, after the jump.
- ITM Power, a British hydrogen company, says it's reached a bi-fuel "breakthrough"
- New research center will study hydrogen in IC engines
Hydrogen at home in new green fuel revolution
A major breakthrough in hydrogen technology is set to offer the housing market a chance to move towards supplying sustainable and non-polluting power.
A UK company, ITM Power plc, has developed a device which can generate hydrogen in the home to fuel central heating boilers and cookers while drastically cutting CO2 emissions. The development is a major advance towards the Government's goal of achieving a zero carbon new housing market by 2016. Currently domestic consumers account for over 20 per cent of the UK's CO2 emissions.
ITM Power's electrolyser, which is set to go into production next year, can create its own hydrogen fuel from a totally 'green' supply now becoming increasingly available from wind, wave, solar or hydro-electric power. Users could alternatively use low cost off-peak electricity or choose a green tariff from their existing supplier to produce hydrogen.
The hydrogen produced can be stored and then used as a conventional gas to burn in new or converted central heating boilers and as a fuel for cooking. But, unlike gas and oil, when hydrogen burns it releases no CO2 emissions, merely water vapour, offering the opportunity to significantly cut Britain's domestic carbon footprint. Stored hydrogen can also be reconverted to electricity using domestic fuel cells or generators to power lighting or other electrical appliances, removing the inconvenience of power cuts for homes and serious supply interruptions for hospitals, schools and businesses.
Scientists at ITM Power's Sheffield research centre made the hydrogen breakthrough when they developed and patented new low cost materials which significantly outperform and undercut those currently being used by other firms involved in the production of electrolysers.
In addition to its use in the home, hydrogen produced by the ITM electrolyser system can be used to power a family car, and later this year ITM Power plans to unveil a hydrogen home refuelling station for the automotive market and a converted bi-fuel petrol/hydrogen car based on Europe's best-selling model, the Ford Focus. The company aims to demonstrate that the car can be refuelled using hydrogen generated by a home electrolyser and can complete an average daily commuting journey without the need to utilise petrol.
"ITM Power is developing products which will not only revolutionise energy sources for the home but make a significant contribution to cutting CO2 emissions," explained the company's CEO Jim Heathcote.
"Hydrogen has an important role to play in bringing 'green' technology to the housing market and our development work, which will reach the production stage next year, has ensured it will arrive much sooner than many dreamed possible. With stored hydrogen's ability to provide not only fuel for heating and cooking but power, either through a conventional generator or a fuel cell, the prospect of energy self-sufficiency without the dependence on fossil fuels has moved dramatically closer," he added.