"In Hempstead, N.Y., the city not long ago began creating truly clean hydrogen fuel for their fuel cell vehicles by hooking a 100-kilowatt wind turbine into the system. But wind is just one renewable way to skin the hydrogen cat: The German research powerhouse Fraunhofer ISE this month fired up a station that uses photovoltaics to create hydrogen fuel with reduced impact on the grid.
The process at play here is pretty simple, actually: Power from solar panels on the charging station canopy and a nearby building is used indirectly to separate hydrogen and oxygen in water by the process called electrolysis. The hydrogen can then be stored and later used by fuel-cell vehicles.
One big advantage, for example: Fraunhofer said that a vehicle can fill up with hydrogen in just three minutes and then travel nearly 250 miles. Even the so-called “fast chargers” being developed for battery electrics can do a full charge in less than about a half hour.
Glad I'm not a total idiot (well I it depends on who you ask...)
I've been telling just about anyone who will listen that the above process, using solar to crack hydrogen for longer term energy storage and fuel cell usage, is what I want to see. Batteries are lame, They are not a long term, via solution for vehicles, homes, buildings.
Is a huge store of hydrogen a safety issue? Yes. But so is the gas in your car, the natural gas in your house (and/or car), all that crap under your kitchen sink, those old as heck cans of "stuff" on "that shelf",yada, yada. And as if batteries don't have their own issues?
I don't even think it has to be at the house level. Think substations is here the hydrogen is cracked and stored. And where the fuel cells are. Solar panels on the houses for that substation feed into it during the day, surplus is used to build stores of hydrogen, at night, fuel cells are used to generate power back to said houses.
Smart grid baby.
And heck that substation can also act as a hydrogen fueling station for cars?
Until then, I'm keeping my eyes open for at home options for this. I'd SO love to have a fuel cell car that I fueled with hydrogen cracked via my solar panels... :)