Plans Emerge for Hybrid Hydrogen Energy Project

DTE Energy took another step toward building a hydrogen energy pilot project that will model a complete, multi-use hydrogen energy system. The company is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the state of Michigan and the city of Southfield to develop, build and operate the project that will create hydrogen gas from tap water and use that gas in fuel cell generators and to refuel fuel cell vehicles.

Southfield, Michigan – November 6, 2003 [] The project will also include on-site hydrogen production using renewable biomass and solar power, hydrogen storage and distribution, on-site electrical power generation using fuel cell technology and vehicle fueling. Having completed initial project development and system design, DTE Energy is moving ahead with the permitting process. “The Hydrogen Technology Park will be the first of its kind to model a complete, multi-use hydrogen energy system,” said Anthony F. Earley Jr., DTE Energy chairman and CEO. “It’s intended to provide key insights into the technical and economic challenges of commercializing hydrogen as an environmentally friendly, safe alternative to conventional fuels.” The US$3 million, five-year pilot project will result in a system capable of delivering about 100,000 kWh of electricity per year — enough to power a small office park or about 20 homes — and enough compressed hydrogen gas to fuel three vehicles per day, said the company. The project will be at Detroit Edison’s Southfield Station on the northeast corner of 11 Mile and Inkster roads. Earley noted that DTE Energy’s Hydrogen Technology Park would help the state of Michigan become a world leader in advanced energy technologies that will eventually play an important role in the nation’s energy system. “The state and city of Southfield also have the opportunity to be at the center of new energy technology development and the associated job creation,” Earley said. “The Hydrogen Technology Park will be a showcase that draws visitors from around the world.” The Technology Park will be in one of Michigan’s SmartZones, established by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to foster collaboration between technology-based businesses and research institutions. SmartZones create recognized clusters of new and emerging businesses focused on commercializing ideas, patents and other research opportunities. DTE Energy is working with Lawrence Technological University to provide student learning and research opportunities using the Technology Park as a working laboratory. A number of DTE Energy subsidiaries will support the Hydrogen Technology Park, including DTE Energy Technologies of Farmington Hills, Michigan, which will manage the overall design and installation of the system. Plug Power, a fuel cell developer that DTE Energy established and has a 23-percent stake in, will supply the fuel cell generation equipment.


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