The theme of the 2012 Contest is "Design a Combined Heat, Hydrogen and Power (CHHP) System for a University Campus Using Local Resources". The Contest will challenge university-level students to plan and design an innovative CHHP system for their university campus. As a part of their entry, teams will develop a feedstock analysis, technical design, address safety and code compliance, identify end-uses on campus, conduct an economic and environmental analysis, and develop business, marketing, and public education plans for their systems.
Register via email by contacting Contest Coordinator Emanuel Wagner at mailto:email@example.com. Please include a list of team members and faculty advisor by November 1, 2011, at which time your abstract is also due.
Global demand for energy continues to grow while countries around the globe race to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and GHG emissions by implementing policy measures and advancing technology.
Clean and renewable energy can be produced from many sources, and even use existing materials for energy generation. One such pathway is using wastewater, animal and organic waste, or landfills to create biogas for energy production. Biogas is a product of anaerobic digestion of any organic material, and yields 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas if vented into the atmosphere, but can also be used to substitute fossil fuels to produce energy. The cleanest way to generate energy from methane is by utilizing a fuel cell, which does not cause significant emissions or noise, unlike combustion systems. Furthermore, modern carbonate fuel cells can produce not only electricity, but also heat and hydrogen.
Hydrogen-powered technologies are a very promising alternative to weaning supplies of fossil energy and are becoming more common. Hydrogen, when produced from renewable resources, provides a clean, emission-free and environmentally friendly fuel.
The transition to hydrogen as a fuel is advancing, but a number of key questions are still unsolved, including the well-known challenge of infrastructure development. According to the Electric Power Research Institute, "the primary obstacle to [hydrogen vehicle] implementation is the perceived infrastructure investment cost associated with building and operating hydrogen fueling stations during the early market penetration years of hydrogen vehicles." In other words, which should come first-the hydrogen vehicles or the stations to fuel them?
Hydrogen has also the potential to serve as a storage medium for the power grid and be utilized when demand is highest, reducing strain and thus a more stable electric grid.
A solution may present itself in the broader distribution of CHHP plants at viable sites that have a significant organic waste and wastewater production, such as commercial-scale sites such as hospitals, college and university campuses, reducing energy and organic waste disposal costs or providing additional revenue through the sale of the products. Using locally sourced, already available resources, CHHP plants can provide three important products: electricity to power the campus, a thermal energy for heating/ cooling purposes and hydrogen for transportation, back-up power or other needs. This on-site approach to hydrogen production advances hydrogen infrastructure technologies that will accelerate the use of this renewable fuel.
This type of tri-generation is in the beginning stages but shows great promise. At least two companies are currently manufacturing CHHP plants. For this Contest, we are inviting students to get involved in this exciting new frontier of hydrogen technology development.
September 14, 2011 - Registration Opens
November 1, 2011 - Registration Closes/Abstracts Due
January 16, 2012 - Phase I Entries Due
April 2, 2012 - Phase II (Final Entries) Due
June 3-7, 2012 - Grand Prize Winner presents at World Hydrogen Energy Conference 2012 in Toronto, Canada.