Denmark Boasts a 100% Renewable Energy Community

2009-07-12T16-02-59 -- DSC_0301Denmark, like, Germany, her neighbor to the south, is a country that takes renewable energy seriously. The wind energy industry alone in Denmark is booming with companies like Vestas and Siemens Wind Power both having production facilities and bases of operation on Danish soil. Denmark’s own wind based energy also grows exponentially each year leaving many optimistic that the nation might be one of the few who can achieve 100% renewable energy in the next several decades. However, wind based renewable energy is not the only kind of clean energy the country has going for it. In one location, Denmark has proven that wind and hydrogen can be king when it comes to being green.

Called the Lolland Hydrogen Community, the project began in the middle of 2007 as a way of taking the excess wind energy produced by the island community and putting it to use. Since they were generating an impressive fifty percent more wind energy than was needed, they set about finding a way to convert that excess wind into hydrogen for use in powering the island and acting as way to demonstrate to Europe the viability of hydrogen as a renewable energy source. The way the project began was with the installation of a Fuel Cell Combined Heat and Power plant that took the wind energy that was being produced in excess and using it to power an electrolyser that worked to separate the oxygen and hydrogen molecules that comprised water. Once the hydrogen is separated it is stored in pressure tanks and it is then used to power fuel cells that provide the community with electricity.

Although powering the community’s power grid with the hydrogen fuel cells proved to be a success the Lolland Hydrogen Community knew they could take the renewable energy a step forward. To achieve this end, the researchers on the community developed smaller hydrogen fuel cells that could be placed in a home and act similar to a boiler in order to provide heating, air, and energy. In 2008, five houses in the village of Nakskov were chosen to have the smaller fuel cells installed in them in order to determine if they would be effective. Nearly three years later, the Lolland Hydrogen Community is now looking into installing them in over forty more homes.

In the end, the Lolland Hydrogen Community serves as an example to the rest of Europe that 100% renewable energy is indeed possible. With the unique blend of both hydrogen based fuel cell power and wind energy the power that is generated easily powers the entire community. Based off the example being set in Nakskov and in Lolland, it would not be surprising to see the blueprint used in the future to convert further communities over to a fully renewable infrastructure.

Photo Credit: C. G. P. Grey

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