Landmark hydrogen power project in construction sector

A hydrogen-powered energy system is to be installed on a construction site in Spain in a project that may prove a milestone for cleaning up emissions in the building sector and also boosting Spain’s post-coronavirus economic recovery.

It will be delivered next year in a joint initiative between Spanish energy and infrastructure company Acciona and UK hydrogen system developer AFC Energy.

“The construction industry is one of the largest sources of pollution in our cities and, as we emerge from lockdown, it needs to take action to speed up its transition to a zero-emissions future,” said AFC Energy chief executive Adam Bond.

A generator will be deployed on the construction site initially as a containerised 160kW system, along with a battery energy storage system and an ammonia cracker from which hydrogen fuel will be derived.

These systems will operate alongside AFC Energy’s H-Power generator to validate the technical and economic viability of the system. If successful, both companies plan future similar collaborations. 

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“Innovation in the off-grid power sector will be crucial in cleaning up the construction industry and helping cities meet net-zero objectives,” said Bond, who added that the pact with ACCIONA “is yet another vote of confidence in the important role hydrogen will play in the fight for better air quality on and around construction sites as we move towards a cleaner economy post-COVID”.   

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He said that as governments continue to seek ways to meet net-zero commitments, “decarbonisation of the construction sector has become an important objective in the fight for better air quality. With renewed attention being given to air pollution in our cities post-lockdown, the need for zero-emission alternatives to off-grid diesel generators has never been greater.”

He added that “the only emission from AFC Energy’s hydrogen-powered generator is water”.

AFC Energy has been working for more than a decade on commercialising a scalable alkaline fuel cell system for on and off grid applications and said the technology is now being deployed in electric vehicle chargers, decentralised power systems and industrial gas plants.

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