Solar-Hydrogen Home Garners Wide Interest and Public Support
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By David G. Schieren
Chairman and CEO, EmPower CES

New NHA members EmPower CES and the US Merchant Marine Academy's Alternative Power Program helped renewable hydrogen take a giant leap forward during the 2005 Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

The Solar Decathlon is a Department of Energy competition that brings 18 college and university teams to the National Mall in Washington DC to compete in ten contests that measure the ability to design, build, and operate the most attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. Thousands of people descended on the Mall to visit the homes during the two week competition in October of 2005.

As the Energy Team Leader for the New York Institute of Technology / US Merchant Marine Academy 2005 Solar Decathlon Project, EmPower Chairman & CEO David G. Schieren was responsible for project management and developing the Solar-Hydrogen Fuel Cell power system. Lead Engineer Greg Sachs of the US Merchant Marine Academy's Alternative Power Program was responsible for engineering, installing and operating the advanced hydrogen systems. NYIT/USMMA was the only team that used cutting edge Solar-Hydrogen technology. Key system components included a Plug Power GenCore 5 kW Fuel Cell, a Proton Energy Systems HOGEN 40RE Electrolyzer, and 54 Sanyo HIT 200 Photovoltaics with a nameplate of 11.8 kW.

The Solar-Hydrogen House placed 5th out of 18, a very respectable first entry. More importantly the Solar-Hydrogen Fuel Cell power system was one of a kind and it received incredible attention both in New York and in Washington, DC.

EmPower CES and the USMMA's Alternative Power Program will continue the successful partnership forged during Solar Decathlon project. The Solar-Hydrogen Home is now rebuilt at the USMMA's campus in Kings Point, New York where it will be used for further research, development and demonstration purposes.


Key Partnerships
One of EmPower's main responsibilities was to develop partnerships with private and public sector organizations. Partners on the Solar-Hydrogen systems included:

The Solar Decathlon provided the perfect high profile platform to promote renewable hydrogen. EmPower plans to build on this experience and participate in new hydrogen demonstration projects that will substantially advance the hydrogen economy. EmPower believes that hydrogen is the key to energy independence, a clean environment and economic growth, and is eager to work with the NHA and other partners towards these common goals.

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