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NYPA and EPRI Reviewing Feasibility of Hydropower-To-Hydrogen Project At Niagara Falls State Park

Brian Warner

March 13, 2006


WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has teamed with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) of Palo Alto, California, to undertake an engineering feasibility study exploring the use of hydropower to produce hydrogen for a fleet of clean-fueled vehicles operated by the Niagara Falls State Park.

“The road to energy independence might be paved with hydrogen. Exploring the use of emission-free, renewable hydropower to produce hydrogen fuel for clean transportation is another example of the way New York State is working to reduce petroleum dependency under the leadership of Governor George E. Pataki,” said Power Authority Chairman Joseph P. Seymour.

“In January, Governor Pataki laid out an aggressive series of initiatives to boost production and use of renewable fuels, and provide incentives for developing new, more efficient vehicles, and ancillary technologies. His goal and NYPA’s mission are to help spur energy research as well as economic growth here in the Empire State,” said NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy S. Carey.

Under terms of an agreement, NYPA and EPRI will examine the feasibility of using hydropower to run an electrolysis unit to separate hydrogen from water molecules.  The study will recommend the size of the unit required to produce an adequate volume of hydrogen fuel. It will also seek to outline the types of vehicles capable of operating on hydrogen.

“This study will prepare a ‘design package’ and a blueprint for implementation, and give  stakeholders critical  information to make a decision to implement  this hydrogen production and refueling station,” said Dan Rastler, technical leader of EPRI’s Distributed Energy Resources and Hydrogen Programs.  

“The hydrogen feasibility study, exploring the latest clean energy technologies for use at Niagara Falls State Park, continues our longstanding commitment to provide recreational and interpretive services to the public in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Bernadette Castro, commissioner, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. “We are grateful to Governor Pataki, the Power Authority and our private partners for their incredible support of exciting alternative energy programs that will promote cleaner, greener parks for patrons, now and well into the future.”

“NYPA has a long, productive relationship with EPRI, which has supported us in our development of clean energy technologies such as fuel cells, energy-efficiency initiatives and introduction of electric-drive vehicles. The hydropower-to-hydrogen study, which is expected to be completed by mid-year, is the latest example of our partnership,” said NYPA’s Chief Technology Development Officer Shalom Zelingher.

The long-term goal of the hydrogen study is the design and eventual installation of a hydrogen vehicle-fueling station that could be replicated at other locations.  In addition to demonstrating hydrogen technologies, the project being considered for Niagara Falls State Park will help educate the public about the potential of hydrogen as a vehicle fuel and energy carrier.  When installed, the fueling station will serve as a key infrastructure advance, which could lead to future growth in economic development activities for the state.

  About NYPA:

 ■     NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■      NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating plants in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. 

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