Professor David Blekhman is an expert in the field of hydrogen infrastructure and has been selected as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Alternative Energy Technology for the 2019-20 academic year.
A part of David Blekhman´s project in Scandinavia was to visit all hydrogen stations.
“But as I explored hydrogen in Gothenburg, everyone was praising the Nilsson Energy House”, says Blekhman.
Of course, he had to visit and make a documentary about the off-grid house at the west coast of Sweden for his students back in Los Angeles. You can watch it here.
Below, Dr. Blekhman answers a few questions explaining his interest in this project.
Was there anything that surprised you in the meeting with Hans-Olof Nilsson?
” When visiting the house, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much thought and effort went into creating the house of the future, which is completely energy independent. Of course, hospitality was also the top notch. Overall, I was so impressed with the Hans-Olof house that I wanted to make a good record for my students. Eventually, that inspiration transformed into this documentary where you will see many technical details. Nilsson Energy is growing rapidly by taking on building new energy independent communities”.
The house is powered by solar cells, batteries and hydrogen. The solar energy is stored in hydrogen during summer and used to make electricity and heating through fall and in winter.
“The waste heat from the fuel cell is used to keep it warm. Storing hydrogen seasonally is addressing a different need that we would typically have in Los Angeles. Batteries, and that is a relatively large storage, also play an important role in regulating short term one-to-few days needs of the house to store and use the solar energy”.
What opportunities do you see for hydrogen?
“While ten years ago we were thinking of hydrogen as a fuel for passenger cars and that it was in a fierce competition with electric, cars, in recent years, hydrogen has won the battle by becoming the primary choice for massive storage of growing solar and wind energy. That is because it does not need the bulk of rare metals to be stored, just volume and pressure. The European Union is aggressively pursuing hydrogen as the next big energy revolution by offering economic growth opportunities to many countries and companies. Choices for lithium ion batteries are more limiting in this sense.”
What are the major challenges for hydrogen?
“Hydrogen, however, is not without its own challenges. Both the electrolyzer and fuel cell technologies are still maturing. Hydrogen infrastructure need to grow while watching out for safe practices of handling pressurized hydrogen”.
Is there anything else you want to tell us?
"I would like to express my gratitude to Chalmers University of Technology for hosting me while on the Fulbright program. I met many wonderful people here. Special thanks go to Dr. Maria Grahn and the AoA Energy for support in producing this video,” concludes David Blekhman.
By: Ann-Christine Nordin
The Documentary: The Hydrogen House