This paper deals with the Off-Grid Zero Emissions Building (OGZEB), a project undertaken by the Sustainable Energy Science & Engineering Center (SESEC) at Florida State University (FSU). The project involves the design, construction and operation of a completely solar-powered building that achieves LEED-NC (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design-New Construction) platinum certification. The resulting 1000 square foot building will be partitioned such that 750 square feet will be a two bedroom, graduate student style flat with the remaining 250 square feet serving as office space. This arrangement will allow the building to serve as an energy efficient model for campus designers in student living and office space. The building will also serve as a prototype for developing and implementing cutting edge, alternative energy technologies in both residential and commercial settings. For example, hydrogen will be used extensively in meeting the energy needs of the OGZEB. In lieu of high efficiency batteries, the excess electricity produced by the building’s photovoltaic (PV) panels will be used to generate hydrogen via water electrolysis. The hydrogen will be stored on-site until needed for either generating electricity in a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack or combusted in natural gas appliances that have been modified for hydrogen use. Although commercial variants already exist, a highly efficient water electrolysis device and innovative PEM fuel cell are currently under development at SESEC and both will be implemented into the OGZEB. The use of hydrogen in modified natural gas appliances, such as an on-demand hot water heater and cook top, is unique to the OGZEB.

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