THE first building in the UK to be powered by wind and hydrogen is being developed by a North-East company as it continues to lead the way in the field of renewable and sustainable energy sources.
Newcastle-based TNEI Services has been commissioned by Yorkshire Forward (the regional development agency for Yorkshire) to provide the power for the project in Rotherham.
And it comes as the company is looking to almost double its workforce early next year with its 2007 turnover of £4m projected to jump to £6m in 2008.
TNEI will install a wind turbine on the £8.7m Environmental Energy Technology Centre (EETC) at Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham to generate hydrogen gas which will be stored and then converted into electricity.
Jason Stoyel, TNEI’s technical manger, said: “This development is a real life Tomorrow’s World-style project which will demonstrate to the wider community how hydrogen can be used in a commercial setting.
“It is the first of its kind on this scale – where conventional wind energy will be used on site to generate hydrogen.”
The EETC opens next year as an entirely energy self-sufficient centre which will house more than 30 businesses working in the renewable energy industry. Matthew Lumsden, managing director of TNEI, said: “TNEI is entering a major period of expansion. We are working on some innovative and exciting projects and need to build on our already strong and dynamic team to support this business development.
“We are looking to recruit at least 17 to 20 new consultants and engineers over the next 12 months – with an immediate requirement of 10 new members of staff with planning and environmental experience.
“In the new year, we will be embarking on a round of advertising in both the regional Press and in industry specific publications to identify potential recruits.”
TNEI Services is a private limited company employing around 40 people with offices in Manchester and Woking as well as the Newcastle headquarters. It is structured around five consultancy groups; planning and environmental; power systems and technology, energy management and renewables, software development and strategy and culture.
The company has also secured a contract to provide renewable energy wind turbines for up to 2,000 Tesco stores. The roll out of these new turbines has begun in the North-East with the installation of a turbine at Tesco’s store in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham.
The turbines differ from the standard ones in that they are vertical axis machines. Instead of rotating like a windmill, the new turbines are smaller and have compact rotors consisting of six vertical aerofoils.
How wind and hydrogen power work
Wind turbines use the wind to generate mechanical power for electricity generation.
The turbines convert the wind power (kinetic energy) that passes through the rotors into electrical energy.
This energy is then used to directly provide power for buildings – as is the case at the Nissan site in Sunderland – or to feed into the national grid, via underground or overhead cables.
The UK is particularly well placed to use wind power, having access to something like 40% of the entire European wind resource.
A wind turbine generates energy that is linked to an electrolyser that produces hydrogen at high pressure.
The hydrogen is stored at high pressure in fuel cells, creating a store of “green” hydrogen.
When needed the hydrogen will be used in fuel cells to provide electricity to light and power the offices.
Surplus hydrogen can be stored on site and can even be used as fuel for cars.