Energy autonomy in a high-mountain shelter: Hydrogen energy for hikers

Articles - 6 April 2016
Stockage energie solaire - autonomie énergétique d'un refuge en site isolé
Stockage énergie solaire du parc vanoise Mahytec_2
Stockage energie solaire du Parc Vanoise - Solutions hydrogène d'un site isolé

Energy autonomy in a high-mountain shelter : Hydrogen energy for hikers

Mountain hiking is clearly a hobby that allows us to get close to nature. When arrived to the shelter, the hiker wants to pursue its experience and share it. Looking for confort while embracing nature requires the shelter to supply electricity. However, in a such place, we want this energy to be clean.

In June 2015, the Col du Palet shelter (National Park of la Vanoise, 2600m high) will go through a revolution of its energy production. Hikers and guardians will benefit from access to renewable energy, whatever the weather conditions, thanks to energy storage by hydrogen technology. To face this challenge, the consortium has conceived a full system to meet the needs in energy of isolated high mountain sites.

The consortium has been selected by the National Park of La Vanoise as part of the tender submitted in 2014 to equip the Col du Palet shelter. It offers a turnkey installation connected to the existing power supply to obtain enough power and energy at any times. The system is mainly composed of an autonomous room of 9 sqm, where isolation and ventilation are adapted to winter conditions to ensure the hydrogen systems optimum thermic conditions at all times. It includes a 500Nl/h electrolyzer and a 2.5kW fuel cell, and on another part a storage at medium pressure to receive or power in hydrogen. Five kilograms of hydrogen will then be produced and stored during the closure period and will be available as a complementary energy reserve during opening season.

To contribute to maintaining thermic environment of the room, a solar system with heat storage is used.  The other part of the solution employs photovoltaic solar panels, connected to converters which ensure, through a buffer storage by battery, daily energy supply. This package of devices will be automatically controlled by a smart monitoring module. Information transfers by GSM will allow remotely monitor to follow all the indicators of the system and prevent from eventual maintenance operations.

Gest’Hydrogène and Gest’Performance have conceived and manufactured the movable room and are responsible for the thermic management of the complete set.

MAHYTEC ensures the conception and manufacturing of the hydrogen storage and distribution system.

Powidian supplies its solution SAGES which involves the production and conversion of hydrogen (electrolyzer and fuel cell), the battery, the solar panels, the power workshop and electric components and controls the monitoring of the complete set of devices.

Waechter Energies is in charge of the different phases of installation and electricity connection and distribution. Thanks to this extraordinary complementarity of technical skills that the consortium of 5 SME can offer a complete system of a high technical level to the National Park of La Vanoise.

Different versions of this system are also available for other environments: islands, deserts, tropical forests…

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