Whether you’re a footy fan or a clean energy enthusiast, September is set to be an exciting month at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Australia’s favourite patch of turf has some massive energy demands, whether they be lights, electronic score boards, or air conditioning.
No matter the season, the ‘G requires a significant amount of energy – equivalent to the amount required to power around 4,000 homes for a year. Its sheer scale means there are many opportunities to apply innovative energy technologies in order to keep the lights on, sustainably.
CSIRO are working with the Melbourne Cricket Club (stadium manager of the MCG) and their new electricity partner EnergyAustralia to explore the use of hybrid energy systems based on renewable energy, hydrogen, fuel cells and battery storage to better manage the stadium’s electricity consumption and reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Fuel cells or batteries … why not both?
Fuel cells and batteries convert chemical energy into electricity through an electrochemical reaction:
Fuel cells combine gases oxygen (from air) and hydrogen (from a fuel tank).
Batteries combine chemicals stored within their electrodes inside the battery.
So why use a fuel cell instead of a battery, and how can both be used in a hybrid system?
The first reason relates to the fuel – you can store much more energy in a fuel than you can in a battery because a fuel tank is much cheaper than battery electrodes. This makes it cheaper per unit of energy to store energy in a fuel – energy normally measured in kilowatt hours (kWh).
As well as being cheaper, a fuel like hydrogen can be stored indefinitely in a tank, whereas batteries slowly drain once charged.
For the full story, go to CSIRO Scope