GKN Powder Metallurgy has opened its first self-sustaining home, located in the South Tyrolean Alps. The 300-year old building, which has no access to a public power grid, now operates on a CO2-free energy supply system providing locally generated energy from renewables. The energy storage system uses metal powder to safely and compactly hold hydrogen as its energy source.
The home runs on GKN Powder Metallurgy’s Hy2Green energy storage system; its first zero emission heat and power generator. The system is said to create green energy from regenerative sources, store it and provide electrical power and heat when needed, in a local ecosystem with no emissions other than water and oxygen.
GKN Powder Metallurgy announced plans to develop an innovative hydrogen storage system for residential homes using solid state metal hydride in August 2017.
In the Hy2Green process, hydrogen is generated in an electrolyzer unit powered by a regenerative energy source and fed into storage tanks filled with metal powder. The hydrogen bonds to the metal particles to form metal hydride, and through temperature adjustments, the hydrogen is released to a fuel cell and through the fuel cell is converted back to electrical power.
According to GKN Powder Metallurgy, the metal powder-based Hy2Green system needs twenty times less space for the same amount of energy at the same pressure rate compared to gaseous hydrogen storage systems. The system works at the safe pressure rate of only thirty bars, while safe storage systems for gaseous hydrogen run at pressures of up to 800 bars.
Peter Oberparleiter, CEO GKN Powder Metallurgy, stated at the house’s opening, “A dividing factor against other systems is our use of iron metal and titanium, which is available in vast amounts compared to lithium being used for modern researchable battery storages. The life expectancy of our metal-hydride based Hy2Green storage lays at approximately ten years, as opposed to the three-year lifespan for an electric battery storage.”