TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Researchers at Florida State University have built a solar-powered house that serves as a real-world testing facility for solar and hydrogen power, hydrogen combustion, and other innovative clean-energy and design technologies developed at the university.

The Off-Grid Zero Emissions Building (OGZEB), as the house is known, has been officially unveiled in a dedication ceremony at Florida State. The 1,000-square-foot facility, nestled in the heart of campus near the Love Building, was developed, designed, and built under the leadership of researchers from the university’s Energy & Sustainability Center.

“The OGZEB is a test bed for developing and implementing cutting-edge technologies in both residential and commercial settings,” said Anjane “Yulu” Krothapalli, the Don Fuqua Eminent Scholar Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Florida State and director of the center. “It also serves as an energy-efficient model for student living and office space.”

The building is powered by solar energy collected from a solar array installed on the roof. The energy collected can be used for all of the facility’s electrical needs, but it also powers an innovative system that converts water into hydrogen, which is then converted back into electricity when sunlight isn’t available.

The hydrogen is stored in tanks that are able to hold enough to produce up to 30 days’ worth of electricity. So at night or on cloudy days, when electricity is not being produced by the solar panels, or if more power is ever needed, the stored hydrogen is recombined with oxygen in a fuel cell, producing more electricity for the house.

The OGZEB also uses a new technology to allow hydrogen combustion to be used in appliances. The house is furnished with a custom-retrofitted, hydrogen-burning stove.

For more information, visit the Energy & Sustainability Center Web page at www.esc.fsu.edu.

Publication date:08/31/2009