Solar-Hydrogen House Is Energy Independent

Mike Strizki's solar-hydrogen house has liberated him entirely from gas, electric and oil bills for the past two years. He uses a system that stores solar energy by making hydrogen gas for later use in a fuel cell. This may bring yesterday's story Solar-Powered Fuel Cells Easy As Photosynthesis to mind, but Strizki's system is different.


(Mike Strizki's solar-hydrogen residence)

Strizki's method is to use photovoltaic panels to turn sunlight into electricity. This electricity is then used to power an electrolyzer that splits the molecules of water into oxygen (which is vented into the atmosphere) and hydrogen, which is stored.

Strizki's two-story colonial on an 11-acre (4.5 hectare) plot 12 miles (19 kilometers) north of Trenton is the nation's first private hydrogen-powered house, which he now shares with his wife, two dogs and a cat. (His two daughters and son, all in their 20s, have left the nest.) It has been running entirely on electricity generated from the sun and stored hydrogen since October 2006, when Strizki—in a project that his wife Ann fully supports—built an off-grid energy system with $100,000 of his own cash and $400,000 in grants from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, along with technology from companies such as Sharp, Swagelok and Proton Energy Systems.

The Strizki's personalized home-energy system consists of 56 solar panels on his garage roof, and housed inside is a small electrolyzer (a device, about the size of a washing machine, that uses electricity to break down water into its component hydrogen and oxygen). There are 100 batteries for nighttime power needs along the garage's inside wall; just outside are ten propane tanks (leftovers from the 1970s that are capable of storing 19,000 cubic feet, or 538 cubic meters, of hydrogen) as well as a Plug Power fuel cell stack (an electrochemical device that mixes hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and water) and a hydrogen refueling kit for the car.

On a typical day, the system creates about 90 kilowatt hours of electricity. About 10 kW/h are used to power the house in the daytime; most of the remainder is used to fill the hydrogen tanks.

He also uses underground storage tanks for water to cool his house in the summer; the same system provides warmth in the winter via a heat pump.

Two fuel cell stacks power his 104 horsepower all-electric aluminum Mercury Sable. It can travel 400 miles on a single charge.


(Mike Strizki's solar-hydrogen residence video)

Science fiction enthusiasts might remember the self-sufficient houses in Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 story Childhood's End.

Update 5-May-2012: I found an earlier (and closer) prediction of this idea in Clifford Simak's 1952 novel Ring Around the Sun:

"The houses are prefabricated units," said Crawford, "and they sell at the flat rate of five hundred dollars a room — set up. You can trade in your old home on them at a fantastic trade-in value and the credit terms are liberal — much more liberal, I might add, than any sane financing institution would ever countenance. They are heated and air conditioned by a solar plant that tops anything — you hear me, _anything_ — that we have today. There are many other features, but that gives you a rough idea."
(Read more about Simak's solar-powered pre-fab house)

End update.

From Scientific American; thanks to an anonymous reader who wrote in with the tip on the story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/6/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Blaux Your Personal Commuter Cooling Unit
A cooling unit had to be strapped to every commuter's back, by law.

SunnyFive 'Window' Has Full Spectrum Angled Natural Light
'On the ceilings are screens.' - Stanislaw Lem, 1961.

Liftware Level, Google's Smart Spoon
'The result was indeed marvelous... I did not stagger and I did not reel.' - Ellis Parker Butler, 1926.

Prufrock The Newest Boring Machine
'It sounds to me as though you had invented a kind of metal earthworm...'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

TytoCare Offers Futuristic Home Care
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'

Powdered Regolith Propulsion
'... filling their great tanks with the finely divided dust which the ionic rockets would spit out in electrified jets.'

Ford's SafeCap, Opposite Of Niven and Barnes' Napcap
'In the napcap a client became an instant yoga master...'

Would You Get 'Chipped'? Michigan May Ban Employers
'Employees above a certain level were implanted with advanced microprocessors...'

Tesla Autopilot: What Does An Autonomous Car See When It Looks At The Road?
'Jeremiah is a sports-model to begin with and that kind is awfully hot-tempered.'

DNA Controls Swarms Of Molecular Robots
'They exist in loose swarms...'

Tether Asteroids To Save Us All
'If anything can glue the asteroids back into the planet they once were, magnology will do it.'

Blaux Your Personal Commuter Cooling Unit
A cooling unit had to be strapped to every commuter's back, by law.

3D Printed Damascus Steel Now Possible
'...lined with durite, that strange close-packed laboratory product.'

R9X Hellfire Missile With Long Blades Kills Queda Leader
'He was still roaring when the knife missile flicked past him...'

Would You Swallow An Origami Robot?
'Swallow it in an emergency--it goes down easily and works just as well inside as outside.'

Perhaps You Might Be Interested In Habitable Exoplanet Moon Real Estate
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Blurry Face Photos Made 60 Times Sharper
Perfect tool for blade runners.

SpaceX Will Build Floating Spaceports!
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'

Fast Radio Bursts And Space Beacons For Interstellar Navigation
'Every beacon has a code signal as part of its radiation...'

Robot Garbage Trucks Visualized
'It was a bulky, shining cylinder over twenty metres long.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.