Students scoop building award with system that uses hydrogen and renewables

The Hydrogen Education Foundation, part of the National Hydrogen Association, has announced the winners of the 2008-09 Hydrogen Student Design Contest.

The University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Canada won the Grand Prize, while two different teams from the Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan claimed honorable mentions.

This year's Hydrogen Student Design Contest challenged teams of university students from around the world to design a green student centre powered by hydrogen for the State University of New York - Farmingdale Campus, using a theoretical budget of US$28 million dollars.

The Grand Prize design from the University of Waterloo featured a three-level, 76,000 square feet student centre, powered primarily by renewable energy produced from solar, wind, and biomass resources. Hydrogen was used to alleviate the challenges associated with the intermittent solar and wind resources by using daily and seasonal excess electricity in an electrolyser to make hydrogen from water. As long as hydrogen is stored, it can be used on-demand to power the building when the primary electricity generation cannot meet the building's demand. The Waterloo design also used hydrogen to fuel a campus vehicle.

"The judges of this year's Hydrogen Student Design Contest were thrilled to see students show how today's hydrogen products can increase the value of renewable energy by addressing the irregular supply challenges associated with wind and solar energy," said Patrick Serfass, vice president for the Hydrogen Education Foundation. "The designs the students submitted to this Contest represent the future of our built environment."

Since 2004 the Hydrogen Education Foundation's Hydrogen Student Design Contest has challenged teams of university-level students from around the world to develop and design hydrogen systems for real world use. Although nothing is built during the Contest, the Grand Prize winning hydrogen fueling station design from 2004 and the power park design in 2005 each attracted the funding necessary for actual development and implementation. That fueling station opened in California in September 2008.

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Bioenergy  •  Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Green building  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling  •  Wind power