Hydrogen Home in Scottsdale Arizona
We had a unique experience when we took the opportunity to explore a Hydrogen home with its owner.
On the side of one of Scottsdale's Troon mountain rests this unique energy efficent hydrogen home.
Engineer and inventor Bryan Beaulieu invested $2 million in this home that runs on hydrogen.
Bryan lives in the home with his wife Yvette, and sons, off the power grid, and harnessing solar energy instead of burning fossil fuels.
Beaulieu hopes his new home, where he has been living since April 1, 2005 is the answer to a question he asked himself five years ago: "Can we live in the desert without sucking energy out of the rest of the world?"
One of only two hydrogen houses anywhere - the other is in Malaysia - Beaulieu's is made up of a courtyard surrounded by five hexagonal living pods, the shape borrowed from a hogan, or traditional Navajo house.
Yvette's sensitivity to chemicals, dust and fumes was the initial seed for the project.
Bryan has set up a way to make his family more healthy, by using the same thing green plants use as the energy carrier of what goes into his home.
Rather than import Italian marble and install gold-plated fixtures, Beaulieu used materials native to the desert and strived for resource efficiency, durability and longevity.
The floors of Beaulieu's pods are limestone. The walls and ceiling are built from cinderblock and clay. There are no chemicals or glues anywhere, which means no paint, no particleboard, no carpeting and no drywall. The steel on the outside is treated with linseed oil, and the solid walnut cabinets in the kitchen with vinegar and steel wool.
How it all works
Green plants use energy from the sun to break water into hydrogen and oxygen, retaining the hydrogen to make plant tissue that becomes "the tomatoes, the strawberries, the roses, what have you.
Similarly, Beaulieu's home will trap sunlight in solar panels and convert it to electricity. That electricity will run a washing machine-size appliance called an electrolyzer, which separates water into hydrogen and oxygen.
The hydrogen will be trapped in high-pressure tanks and run through an electric generator, producing a clean electricity that keeps lights, computers, ceiling fans - whatever the family needs - humming.
"It works just like you use natural gas," said Beaulieu, "but with no pollution."
The solar panels will soak up tens of thousands of watts of energy during the day and store it for evening, when the family needs more power.
He's using a type of environmental management of radiation from outer space to heat in winter and cool in the summer. He's converting what would have cost society a lot in terms of garbage and sewage into resources greatly needed."
Like any volatile fuel, including gasoline in cars and home heating oil, hydrogen can be explosive if not stored properly. Yet by design, Beaulieu's home will not produce harmful greenhouse gases.
Like hogans, yurts and tepees, each of the five 1,000-square-foot pods of his home has central ventilation in the ceiling that releases hot air. A series of computer-operated windows helps cool air circulate.
· Two feet of dirt on each roof stabilizes temperature.
· Beaulieu planted 10,000 square feet of vines into the dirt on the roofs of each pod creating a canopy of leaves that stretches from the pods across the courtyard. "Our whole house is like a big flower pot," Beaulieu said.
There is a courtyard's swimming pool, which feeds a stream that runs alongside the indoor living spaces. The water and leaves will create a microclimate that traps moisture and cool air.
"It's all the latest and all the oldest technology," said Beaulieu, who has 20 patents in pollution control and lightweight structural systems.
What are his current monthly energy bills after all of this work? Zero No energy bills and a conversation piece to boot - Not bad.