World First Hydrogen Fuel Cell System To Power Construction Site

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World First Hydrogen Fuel Cell System To Power Construction Site

World First Hydrogen Fuel Cell System To Power Construction Site

In a world first, a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell system has been installed on a construction site in Lincolnshire to provide offgrid power, necessary because the site won’t have a grid connection for at least six to eight months.

Siemens Energy is the lead contractor for the build of National Grid’s Viking Link interconnector project, with the fuel cell system providing sufficient heat and power for the construction village, removing the need for diesel generators.

The system was piloted by the company at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, developed in partnership with GeoPura, with the waste heat that would usually be lost from the fuel cell’s cooling system passed through a heat exchanger to heat water. This is then used to heat two drying rooms for the personal protective equipment of the workers on site.

It was installed on site in August, providing heating to approximately 20 cabins across the construction village, containing welfare areas, meeting spaces and offices, all used by employees and contractors.

An impressive 216kWh of battery storage is incorporated in the system to help smooth out peaks in power demand and ensure it operates efficiently. It also means that if the hydrogen supply is interrupted for any reason, the system output would be unaffected, supplying power independently for several hours.

Vice-president of Siemens Energy UK&I Steve Scrimshaw said: “In order to get the hydrogen economy moving we need to create a market, and it is small projects, such as this, which will increase the demand for green hydrogen, providing a pipeline of work for the supply chain.

“We have 30 years to reach net zero and at that point, we won’t be able to use things like diesel to power a generator. This is truly the future for off grid power – and this project should be a model for others across the country.”

Construction started on the Viking Link project in July of this year, the world’s longest electricity interconnector that will serve as a high-voltage direct current link between the UK and Denmark.

The work commenced with the construction of a new access road to the site that will take nine months to complete, enabling access for the construction equipment to the convertor station, which is expected to be completed in 2023.

The 1.4GW high voltage electricity interconnector will stretch 765km subsea and onshore, connecting from Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire and Revsing in in South Jutland in Denmark, enabling clean energy to be shared.

Viking Link project director for National Grid Ventures Mike Elmer said the initial groundwork has already been completed, as well as waterworks studies, with the project allowing access to greener electricity, making energy more affordable and secure for consumers.

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