Self-sufficient smart houses

Sweden is facing a transformation in which solar and wind energy will play a more significant role. One challenge is to be able to store energy produced in windy and sunny conditions for use when the weather is calm and overcast. Electricity generated from renewable energy sources can be stored by using electrolysis to produce hydrogen gas.

Hans-Olof Nilsson lives in Agnesberg outside Gothenburg. He has an energy-efficient house with solar cells mounted on the roof and façades. The solar cells produce electricity during daylight hours and the electricity is used, among other things, to recover hydrogen gas using electrolysis. The hydrogen gas is stored in tanks and used in the evening and night hours, and during the winter, to generate electricity using the PowerCell PS-5 fuel cell system.

“This energy-efficient house will hopefully constitute a future zero-emission standard. By 2020, all new buildings in Sweden will be required to be virtually zero-energy houses, which means that they must produce almost as much energy as they use,” says Hans-Olof Nilsson.

Besides electricity, the fuel cell also produces heating, which is led into the house’s hot water tanks and used for heating and domestic hot water. The stored hydrogen gas can also for used for the household’s planned hydrogen gas car.