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Hydrogen/Electricity Co-Production Station Dedicated in Las Vegas, Nevada
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By Karen Miller, Vice President, National Hydrogen Association


I had the honor of attending the dedication ceremony of the world’s first energy station featuring hydrogen and electricity co-production on 15 November 2002. The site of the new energy station is the Las Vegas Fleet and Transportation Services Center. The $10.8 million, five-year hydrogen energy demonstration project includes research, development of the new technology, and the manufacturing and installation of equipment at the energy station.

The project is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the City of Las Vegas [Nevada, U.S.A.], Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., and Plug Power. Key subcomponent manufacturers included Harvest Energy Technologies, which provided a fuel processor and the cooperative assembly of the generator, and QuestAir Technologies, which provided hydrogen purification equipment.

The fuel cell is a 50-kW PEM fuel cell, with 480 Vac, grid-parallel electrical output. This electricity provides enough power on a daily basis for about 30 Las Vegas homes.

The new energy station produces hydrogen through reforming natural gas. The hydrogen is supplied both to a compressor and a proton exchange membrane fuel cell, manufactured by Plug Power. The compressed hydrogen is available for refueling hydrogen vehicles as well as vehicles that run on hydrogen/CNG blends.

Several vehicles were on display, including the hydrogen-enriched natural gas F150 truck developed in partnership between DOE and NRG Technologies and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles developed by Ford Motor Company and Toyota.

Distinguished speakers involved in the official ribbon-cutting included the Honorable Oscar B. Goodman, Mayor of the City of Las Vegas; the Honorable David Garman, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE; Arthur T. Katsaros, Group Vice President, Engineered Systems and Development for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.; Mark Sperry, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Plug Power, Inc., and representatives from the offices of both Senator Reid and Governor Guinn.

DOE and the City of Las Vegas are also collaborating on a project to convert vehicles for use with hydrogen or hydrogen-rich natural gas, which will refuel at the new facility. ©2002. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of the National Hydrogen Association.
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