Objectives of the project

Our concept is the development of an intelligent, self-sustained and zero CO2 emission hybrid energy system to cover electric power, heating and cooling loads (tri-generation) of either residential/commercial buildings or districts of buildings. In the proposed system, the primary energy will be harvested from RES and directly used to cover contingent loads, while the excess energy will be converted to hydrogen to be used as energy storage material and to be further applied as a green fuel to cover the building heating needs through direct combustion or to produce combined heating and electricity by means of fuel cells. The concept of the proposed idea is schematically presented in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1 Conceptual diagram of a RES - H2 building energy system

The energy needed to cover the building needs originates exclusively from RES (solar, wind and hydro power where available) and is used either directly as electricity to cover the building electrical loads or stored as chemical energy in the form of hydrogen. Hydrogen is produced in the building from water by electrolysis. The stored hydrogen is used as a green fuel to: a) cover the building heating needs through its CO2-free combustion (2H2+O2=2H2O) in suitably designed burners and b) level and balance the intermittent nature of RES, by storing the excess energy produced by the RES (e.g. in commercial buildings during weekends, when energy consumption is minimum) or by providing the electricity needed to cover the building electrical loads in periods (e.g. during night, cloudy or windless days) when either RES are not effective enough to produce it. The latter is achieved with the direct conversion of hydrogen energy into electrical energy in appropriately designed fuel cells (CHP), integrated in the building electrical grid. The heat produced by hydrogen burning in the fuel cells is recovered and used to cover part of the building heating needs.

The energy generation and distribution in the building and the safe operation, control and monitoring of the various system modules is managed by an intelligent energy and device management system developed for the specific application. In order to secure a stable and continuous operation, the proposed system is connected to the main electrical and natural gas utility grid and uses them only in cases of energy shortage (e.g. in-house energy production is not enough, malfunctions, repair or service). The main parts of the proposed system include photovoltaic array(s), wind generator(s), electrolyser, fuel cells, hydrogen storage tanks and intelligent management and control system. The system will be applicable both in residential and commercial buildings.

Successful achievement of this target will significantly contribute to the realisation of the targets set by the EC and will address one of the major challenges of the 21st century for the Building Sector.

H2SusBuild poster can be downloaded by clicking here.

H2SusBuild brochure can be downloaded by clicking here.