Hempstead, N.Y., launched the first hydrogen fueling station on Long Island more than two years ago, but it turns out that was just an initial step toward sustainably powering fuel cell vehicles in its fleet. Now Hempstead has added a 100-kilowatt (kW) capacity wind turbine to the mix, giving it the ability to create hydrogen fuel without sucking power from the grid.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – which funded the $615,000, 121-foot-tall turbine through a Recovery Act grant – Hempstead had been using about 200,000 kilowatt-hours of grid electricity, most of which comes from fossil-fuel sources, to run an electrolyzer to generate hydrogen for the fuel station. In its assessment of the project [PDF], the DOE said the turbine should be able to generate enough electricity to replace that grid-purchased power. And that possibility had the town’s political leadership waxing poetic.
“The answer to clean and renewable energy is ‘blowin’ in the wind,’” town Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement. “This wind turbine is creating renewable energy, saving money, conserving natural resources and building an environmentally responsible legacy for our children and our children’s children.”
Hempstead calls itself a town, but it’s no small burg; it has a population around 750,000. And it has green ambitions that are every bit as large. The wind-to-hydrogen system is just one part of a larger Clean Energy Project at Point Lookout, 35 miles southeast of Midtown Manhattan. There’s also a shellfish nursery powered by a 2.4-kW wind turbine and two 5- kW solar arrays; a 10-kW solar array on the roof of the Administration Building; and a zero-energy solar home built by the New York Institute of Technology.
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