Hydrogen storage for energy efficient buildings

Accounting for some 40% of all energy consumption, the building sector is one of Europe’s most energy consuming. And as the vast majority of this power comes from fossil fuels, increasing energy efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions and using Renewable Energy Sources (RES) has in recent years become priority.
Started in October 2008, the four year H2SusBuild project aimed at developing an energy self-sustainable and zero-CO2-emission building by integrating a hybrid energy system, where the storage of hydrogen provides the energy supply in instances where renewable sources are lacking.
With funding of €6.7 million under the Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7), the project is coordinated by the Italian engineering consulting company D’Appolonia and has 18 highly qualified industrial partners, universities and research organisations from 8 EU Member States and Norway.
“H2SusBuild combines the efficient use of renewable energy technologies like wind power generators and photovoltaic panels with water electrolysis, a process that produces hydrogen,” says project representative Alessandra Monero from D’Appolonia. “This means that when renewable energy is in short supply, hydrogen can instead be used to produce electricity and heat. Conversely, too much renewable power can be converted into hydrogen for use at a later date.”
H2SusBuild was demonstrated in a building located in Greece through firstly a reduced-scale pilot project and a subsequent full-scale installation. This demonstration was a success and showcased the technical feasibility of installing and operating such a system within a real building. Moreover, it assessed the measures put in place to operate safely despite the use of hydrogen, resulting in guidelines being developed for the element’s future use in buildings.
The objectives of H2SusBuild could only have been met at a European level due to the wide variety of knowledge and skills required. Furthermore, no single Member State could have come up with the necessary financial and personnel resources with the same level of scientific-technological excellence and engineering skills.
The transnational consortium has in fact helped both research teams and industrial participants to further develop their science and technology capabilities. They have also benefitted from associated synergies and gained valuable insights into new markets.
H2SusBuild also involved a number of European- as well as international-wide dissemination actions including being broadcast in over 130 countries and ten languages. The project is also fully in line with the objectives of the Energy-efficient Buildings Public Private Partnership (EeB PPP), launched by the Commission in 2008.

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