CHE team designs award-winning Power-to-Gas system

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A team from the University of Waterloo’s department of Chemical Engineering earned second place in the Hydrogen Education Foundation's 2018 Hydrogen Student Design Contest. The award was announced during the U.S. Department of Energy’s Annual Merit Review in Washington, DC.

This international competition included 27 teams from around the world, all working to design a Power-to-Gas system for cross market uses, including energy storage, ancillary services and transportation fuel. The winning Waterloo team, comprised of students Sami Barbouti, Ehsan Haghi, Ushnik Mukherjee, Nick Preston, Hassan Riaz, Peter Tang and Javan Wang, was mentored by Professor Michael Fowler and Dr. Azadeh Maroufmashat.

The team designed an energy hub for a southern Ontario automotive manufacturer. The hub would use renewable energy, supplemented by the provincial power grid, to generate hydrogen gas. This hydrogen would be redistributed via various revenue streams, such as hydrogen enriched natural gas and transportation fuel for both forklifts and fuel cell vehicles.

This proposal is particularly important as the province of Ontario is transitioning towards a renewable, environmentally friendly energy system that is independent of progressively scarce fossil fuels. Power-to-Gas could play a key role in meeting the province’s energy management requirements by enabling the increased use of intermittent renewable sources of power. Since Power-to-Gas accesses existing natural gas infrastructure, it is capable of providing an incremental transition to a greenhouse-gas-emission-free hydrogen economy.

The Hydrogen Student Design Contest has been challenging multi-disciplinary teams of university students to apply their creativity and academic skills in the areas of design, engineering, economics, environmental science, business and marketing to the hydrogen and fuel cell industries since 2004. This is Waterloo’s sixth award in the history of the contest.

For more information about this contest and to access to the full report, please visit the Hydrogen Education Foundation’s Hydrogen Student Design Contest website.

students and mentor posing with awards

From left: Dr. Azadeh Maroufmashat, Nick Preston, Ehsan Haghi and Ushnik Mukherjee. (Missing from photo: Sami Barbouti, Hassan Riaz, Peter Tang, Javan Wang and Professor Michael Fowler.)