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Converting rainwater into energy

Reliable sources of energy remain a world-wide subject of geopolitical anxiety but a British trial that converts rainwater into the ultimate renewable resource could alter the international picture.

Throughout 2014 a family owned farm in Cheshire was the test site for the potential solution to the world’s energy problem. The system uses a hydrogen boiler, installed by a Bristol based company, to convert rainwater into energy.

Spring Bank Farm near Sandbach in Cheshire uses the rainwater powered boiler to provide energy to run the house, farm, a small on-site industrial unit that includes a micro-brewery and a separate bed and breakfast guest house.

The trial is a joint exercise between Clean Power Solutions and Giacomini, the Italian inventors of the world’s first hydrogen burner.

This heralds a potential dismantling of the way we currently produce and store renewable energy and is the first indication of a possible breaking of the stranglehold that the big six energy producers currently have over industrial, commercial and domestic users.

The system gathers renewable energy via a 48kW photovoltaic solar panel network and a 20kW wind turbine, which is then converted to an AC current to meet the energy demands of the site. Excess energy is then stored in a synthetic grid of 250ah deep cycle batteries that has many purposes, one being to power the hydrogen electrolyser.

The hydrogen electrolyser collects rainwater and purifies it by extracting the oxygen. This creates 2.2kg of hydrogen a day which is stored in the hydrogen tank, ready for use in the Giacomini burner which turns the hydrogen into thermal energy. The system not only has zero running costs but also is emission free as the boiler uses a catalytic reaction to convert the hydrogen into thermal energy.  Its only bi-product is oxygen.

Founded in 1951, as an operating company of the Italian Giacomini Group, Giacomini UK Limited provide a comprehensive range of European manufactured plumbing equipment, valves and fittings. As well as a producing the unique hydrogen boiler, Giacomini is a UK leader in underfloor heating design and installation and also a market leader in heat interface units.

Matt Lowe, managing director of Giacomini UK, commented: “This really is cutting edge work that will shake the energy market to its roots. This new technology will trigger a fundamental reassessment of the role that renewable energy will play in the years ahead. We now have the ability to maximise the potential of renewable energy in a highly cost effective way”.

The Spring Bank Farm hydrogen system has been designed, implemented and managed by Clean Power Solutions, one of the UK’s leading green energy suppliers.

 
28 July 2015
Source: HVR

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