New York to Generate Hydrogen from Hydropower

October 05, 2006

New York Governor George Pataki announced that the New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees had approved grant of $21 million to demonstrate the generation of hydrogen at hydropower facilities in western New York. The grant includes $7.5 million for a hydrogen generating station at a location managed by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), possibly at Niagara Falls State Park. The remaining $13.5 million of the grant will support fueling infrastructure, storage, and hydrogen vehicles operated by NFTA.

The NYPA board’s action was based on the results of an engineering feasibility study carried out earlier this year by NYPA and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The engineering study recommended the size of the electrolysis units for producing hydrogen and vehicle models with fuel cells and other hydrogen engines.

Pataki said that the facilities are expected to begin to produce hydrogen by the end of 2007 and that infrastructure for storing hydrogen and operating the hydrogen vehicles will be in place by 2010. The project will use about 700 kilowatts of power and generate about 120 kilograms (kg) of hydrogen per day. (One kg of hydrogen contains the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline.) The governor also said that the state expects a number of private and local organizations to contribute to the project.

The project follows the New York State Hydrogen Roadmap, which is a blueprint developed for Governor Pataki about how New York will spearhead research and development efforts for hydrogen nationwide. The document reflects a coordinated effort by NYPA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and the Long Island Power Authority. The roadmap includes hydrogen education and outreach, hydrogen codes and standards review, and research and development in the areas of hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and utilization. read the roadmap document, which was published in October 2005 by Energetics, Inc. in Columbia, Maryland (PDF 1.5 MB).

Pataki said, "The demonstration project in western New York is a renewable power application that will help the transition to a hydrogen economy. The process will not emit any greenhouse gases or other pollutants, making it a model for meeting the challenge of global climate change that can be replicated at other locations throughout the state.” For more information, see the governor's October 4 press release.