INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION OF SOLAR-POWERED HYDROGEN GENERATION PLANT
Birkemeier, Scott M.
Gannon, Anthony J.
Holmes, Andrea D.
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This study combined and modified designs of solar-powered hydrogen generation and compression facilities in order to allow for continuous autonomous operation of a 100-percent renewable hydrogen system. The hydrogen generation autonomous operating system was built and tested including assembly, programming, and operation. Utilizing a total system design approach in order to achieve long-term operation without human intervention was key. The design was based around an industrial-type programmable logic controller. It included limiting the number of sensors and controls to improve reliability. Commercial-off-the-shelf components were used due to their proven reliability, accuracy, and durability. Designed-in system safety features include smoke detectors, oxygen and hydrogen sensors, and emergency shutdown pushbuttons, which trigger emergency shutdown if an unsafe condition occurs. The final generation system was operated continuously for nine days to prove design robustness and to provide data for system validation and improvement. Modifications to system programming and changes in sensors and controls will improve efficiencies. New developments in water distillation, dehumidification, and purification can be easily added to improve efficiency and provide the necessary water for continuous system operation. Implementation of the hydrogen compression automation system will be extremely useful in providing fuel for future projects such as a hydrogen-powered gas turbine.
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