EcoIsland intends to make the Isle of Wight self-sufficient with regard to energy, water, food, and fuel by 2020. An important part of this is ensuring that the island has an effective energy storage infrastructure that can make the best use of the energy being produced.
Acta will be the domestic hydrogen partner for EcoIsland. Initially, Acta and EcoIsland will run a domestic renewable energy storage trial project for one house on the Isle of Wight. The partners expect that the trial will begin by the end of April, and run for approximately three months.
Acta will work with Dantherm Power in Denmark – part of Canadian-based Ballard Power Systems – which is developing and producing commercially viable solutions using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
The system integrates a 5 kW hydrogen PEM fuel cell system from Dantherm Power with an Acta EL500 electrolyser. This system is powered by renewable off-grid power, and when installed will generate hydrogen directly from the solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the house. The hydrogen will be stored in cylinders, and fed to the fuel cell when energy is needed – for example, to power the home's night-time energy requirements.
If the trial is successful, Acta and EcoIsland will work together to promote, finance, and supply domestic renewable energy storage solutions for installation in potentially half of the 65 000 homes on the island, as well as in homes on the partner islands of the EcoIslands Accord, including Jersey, Fiji, and the Seychelles.
It is expected that the island’s smart grid infrastructure will be able to transmit the stored energy to each part of the island where and when it is needed. Decentralised hydrogen storage in homes will therefore allow the island to maximise its renewable resources, and will be essential for reaching its ambitions of being energy-independent by 2020.
‘We are moving into a period of increasing energy prices owing to the tightening supply of traditional fossil fuels,’ comments Paolo Bert, CEO of Acta. ‘This project will allow clean, renewable energy to be stored so it is used economically, conveniently and safely, and to do so on a local basis that minimises energy transmission losses.