Canada’s University of Waterloo Wins U.S. DOE 2016 Hydrogen Student Design Contest

University of Waterloo hydrogen student design contest

A team from the University of Waterloo, Canada, won the Hydrogen Education Foundation’s 2016 Hydrogen Student Design Contest. The contest, supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is aligned with DOE’s efforts to work with academic institutions and industry to ensure that students and the workforce are equipped with the skills and training they need to lead the clean energy economy.

This year, teams were challenged to design a hydrogen-based microgrid to help improve community power system resiliency and provide vital grid services, as well as allow for hydrogen fueled transportation.

The winning design proposed a renewable energy powered microgrid capable of continuously covering 10% of the energy demand from an Ontario-based small community, as well as meeting 100% of the community’s power requirements for two full days in the event of a blackout. In the design, hydrogen is produced from wind and solar power using electrolysis, run through a fuel cell to provide power to the community, and used as fuel for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and forklifts. A unique aspect of the design is the vehicle-to-grid concept where FCEVs can be connected to charging stations to supply power to the grid during periods with high energy demand or emergency scenarios.

As part of their award, the team from the University of Waterloo received an expense-paid trip to the 2016 DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Annual Merit Review in Washington D.C., to present their design in front of industry, academia, and government representatives.

Contest participants included eight teams of students from the United States, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa, and Peru. Representatives from DOE, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Air Liquide served as judges to determine the 2016 winning team.

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