In the wide expanses of Llano Estacado, in the Southwestern US, Del Llano Resources Group is working on its renewable solar CHP distributed generation model.
As an energy transition accelerator, Del Llano has begun pairing its distributed generation model using hydrogen energy density with hydrocarbons.
A rural location and lack of resources have directed the company’s recent developments. Generating renewable, low-cost electricity, and heat for the pumping and treating of alternative water resources are just some of the company’s key goals.
H2 View spoke to Craig Collier, Project Director and Coordinator of Del Llano Solar Thermal to find out how the start-up is achieving those goals and hopes to develop in the future.
“Del Llano Resources was created to, one, establish a renewable/clean energy process that could supply a growing amount of inexpensive regional electricity, retain energy dollars, and act as a base for economic development.”
“Two, apply both low cost electricity and heat to pumping and treatment of alternative water resources, and three, with the creation of a level of water security, use the same dependable energy and heat for HTE hydrogen.”
“Hydrogen for generation and transportation could add significant levels of revenue and opportunity for regional economic development. Transition to a better energy process has to include transition to a more equitable economy,” Collier tells H2 View.
Using a linear Fresnel thermal collector system designed by Dr. Shawn Buckley, Del Llano has added concrete storage to its solar thermal CHP distributed generation model in an effort to maintain a lower Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) and create a model which can be constructed regionally.
“With the collection system mounted on top of a standard 40-foot shipping container, evacuated tube collectors transfer reflected heat into thermal transfer fluid which in turn moves through stainless steel pipes into the concrete. This is a closed-loop system for each container.”
To both subsidise heat collection during inclement weather and to provide energy for the microgrid, a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is also located in the container.
“The main use of hydrogen in the system will be as storage support to operate the solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) in event of interruption of external fuel supplies.”
“The energy density of hydrogen places it on a parity with hydrocarbons as a power source.”
“One of the most important parts of integrating hydrogen into the energy spectrum is the development of dependable infrastructure that delivers availability at the competitive value,” Collier tells H2 View.
The heat exchangers can move heat from the 650°C operating temperature of the SOFC into the concrete and the generated electric energy is aggregated as required by load demand.
For additional heat requirements for processing, another set of stainless pipes transfer fluid will pass through the concrete storage in multiple containers depending on the heat load required.
Del Llano recognises that one of the most important parts of integrating hydrogen into the energy spectrum is the development of dependable infrastructure closest to the point of use.
“Del Llano’s microgrid process enables distribution grid support with hydrogen as storage, consistent EV charging without demand charges and secure fuel cell electric vehicle fuelling.”
“As a service for utilities and as a partner with communities, hydrogen becomes a major factor for economic stability in rural regions.”
In a distributed energy market, it is key that generation is reliable, and storage response is a large part of the resiliency.
Hydrogen storage for SOFC support is the most reliable process. The added value of hydrogen for transportation is a major factor for rural community economic development.
Del Llano can also effectively include fuel cell electric vehicle fuelling into critical services microgrids that can offer full-time support.
“Del Llano’s microgrid process enables distribution grid support with hydrogen as storage, consistent EV charging without demand charges and secure FCEV fuelling.”