Other Research Facilities
In addition to the laboratories dedicated to hydrogen and fuel cell research, other facilities at NREL provide space for scientists developing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies along with other renewable energy technologies.
Distributed Energy Resources Test Facility
NREL's Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Test Facility is a working laboratory to test and improve interconnections among renewable energy generation technologies, energy storage systems, and electrical conversion equipment. Research being conducted includes improving the system efficiency of hydrogen production by electrolysis using wind or other renewable energy. This research highlights a promising option for encouraging higher penetrations of renewable energy generation as well as producing hydrogen for transportation and other uses.
NREL's wind-to-hydrogen project is a collaboration with electric utility Xcel Energy. The project connects electrolyzers, hydrogen storage, and electrical generators with wind turbines and photovoltaic arrays at the DER Test Facility to evaluate renewable energy/hydrogen electrolysis systems and develop effective power electronics for direct connection of turbines and arrays to electrolyzer stacks.
Visit the NREL Electric Infrastructure Systems Research Web site for more information about the Distributed Energy Resource Test Facility.
Thermochemical Users Facility
NREL's Thermochemical Users Facility (TCUF) includes pilot-scale equipment for liquefying or gasifying biomass and then either using those products to generate electricity or catalytically converting them to valuable fuels or chemicals. Catalytic conversion of synthesis gas to hydrogen by the "water-gas-shift reaction" is currently the most cost-effective means of producing hydrogen from renewable energy. NREL researchers work at the TCUF to improve that process.
Visit NREL's Biomass Research Web site for more information about the Thermochemical Users Facility.
High-Flux Solar Furnace
NREL's High-Flux Solar Furnace can generate very high heat flux rates by concentrating the sun 2,500 times or more. NREL researchers are using the facility to explore thermochemical processes that generate hydrogen by oxidation and reduction of metal oxides. This work could ultimately lead to still-higher-temperature thermal processes that directly split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Visit NREL's Concentrating Solar Power Research Web site for more information about the High-Flux Solar Furnace.