ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
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Fuel Cells for Sustainable Homes

Researchers in the Future Energy Electronics Center (FEEC) are developing a demonstration unit for an energy independent home using an integrated fuel cell power system based on renewable energy sources.

The heart of the system is a high-efficiency advanced power conditioning system that can convert power from either variable ac or dc sources to a clean sinusoidal ac that can power a hydrogen generator. The power conditioning system achieves efficiencies higher than 98 percent.

The demonstration unit will take solar and wind energy sources and convert them into 120 V ac power for real-time use and convert any extra power into 240 V ac to power a “reversed” fuel cell that can produce hydrogen with 99.9995 percent purity at a rate of 40 ft3/hour of gas. The hydrogen can be stored for later use in an attached fuel cell power system when the demand exceeds the power supplied by the solar and wind energy sources. The same power conditioning system will convert the fuel cell output to 120/240 V ac for household use.

Funding for the demonstration unit was received from Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences (ICTAS) and through the College of Engineering SHEV competition.

Diagram of power within a home