North Dakota Patent of the Month – January 2024

BWR Innovations LLC, experts in fuel cell technology, have been granted a patent for their distributed hydrogen energy system. This inventive approach leverages excess energy generated within a renewable microgrid to power an electrolyzer and a compressor, setting the stage for the on-site production and distribution of hydrogen gas.

The method begins with the electrolyzer converting water into hydrogen gas, utilizing excess energy from renewable resources like wind turbines or solar cells. The compressor then steps in, pressurizing the hydrogen gas for efficient storage. This compressed hydrogen is directed to a stationary pressure vessel within the same microgrid, acting as a central hub for the hydrogen distribution network.

The innovation extends beyond local consumption, as the compressed hydrogen is transported to a second renewable energy microgrid located remotely. The beauty lies in the self-sufficiency of each microgrid, operating independently of a central grid. This decentralized approach not only enhances reliability but also minimizes the risk of interruptions associated with traditional centralized hydrogen distribution models.

Further ingenuity emerges in the distribution methods. A pipeline serves as a conduit, carrying compressed hydrogen from the stationary pressure vessel to the second microgrid. What sets this apart is the adaptability of the pipeline, allowing it to carry both compressed hydrogen and non-hydrogen gases. This flexibility opens up possibilities for multifunctional pipelines, providing a holistic solution for diverse energy needs.

Alternatively, the method introduces the concept of portable pressure vessels, adding a layer of mobility to hydrogen distribution. These vessels can be filled with compressed hydrogen from the stationary pressure vessel and transported to the remote microgrid, showcasing a versatile and dynamic approach to hydrogen delivery.

In the second iteration of the method, the distributed hydrogen is harnessed for power generation. The hydrogen, now at the second microgrid, is supplied to a fuel cell, generating energy to power local loads. This holistic integration of hydrogen production, distribution, and utilization exemplifies a comprehensive and sustainable energy ecosystem.

BWR Innovations is bringing renewable energy to the masses by making it more accessible within existing infrastructure. This inventive method holds promise for a future where hydrogen becomes a key player in decentralized, resilient energy networks.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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