Construction site uses hydrogen fuel cell technology to power operations

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The fuel cell kit is stored in a shipping container.

Siemens Energy

A construction site for a large UK infrastructure project has started using a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell for heat and power, removing the need for diesel generators.

The news comes as low and zero emission kits on construction sites around the world are starting to become more common as technologies develop and attitudes change.

Siemens Energy said on Thursday that the hydrogen fuel cell system would be used at a site in Lincolnshire County, England, which serves the Viking Link interconnection project.

The site was not to be connected to the grid “for at least six to eight months,” the company said, and therefore required an off-grid system. The new technology “provides sufficient heat and electricity to the construction village during this period, thus eliminating the need for diesel generators.”

Installed in August 2020 by Siemens Energy, the system kit is contained in a shipping container. Reusable hoses have been installed to carry hot water from the module to areas of the site where it is needed, while a battery storage system is also in place to help increase efficiency and “smooth out peaks. electricity demand “.

The plan is for the fuel cell to eventually use “green hydrogen,” a term that refers to hydrogen produced from renewable sources. Siemens Energy added that the only fuel cell by-product from producing electricity from hydrogen was water, which would prevent the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other particles.

“Diesel production is a major contributor to highly damaging pollution from CO2, NOx, particulates and waterways,” Andrew Cunningham, chief executive officer of GeoPura, said in a statement on Thursday. GeoPura is a partner of Siemens Energy and participated in the development of the project.

“This project shows that zero-emission electricity generation has reached a point where it can viable replace off-grid diesel production and eliminate these health risks for the benefit of all.”

The Viking Link Interconnector is a high voltage direct current submarine link between Denmark and the UK that will be 765 kilometers long when completed.

The € 2 billion (around $ 2.36 billion) program, which will allow the two countries to share clean energy, is a joint venture between National Grid Ventures and Denmark’s Energinet. It is expected to be completed in 2023.

Other examples of more environmentally friendly kits on construction sites include electrical construction equipment tested on a multibillion dollar bullet train project in the UK

In July, the HS2 project, which plans to reduce travel times between London and other major cities such as Birmingham and Manchester, said the equipment, called a telehandler, had been used on a section of the development in the British capital.

The same month, JCB, a major player in the construction industry, said it had developed an excavator “powered by a hydrogen fuel cell”. Weighing 20 tonnes, the company said the vehicle had been tested for more than 12 months, adding that “the only emission from the exhaust gases is water.”

Last year, JCB said it had started full production of what it described as “the industry’s first fully electric mini excavator.” According to the company, its 19C-1E excavator is quieter than diesel excavators and has no emissions.


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