The free home energy dream realized at last

Engineers are tricky folk — leave them to their own devices and they usually do something awesome. Take Mike Strizki from East Amwell, New Jersey, for instance. The 51-year-old civil engineer hasn't had to pay an oil, electric or gas bill for almost two years, nor has he suffered the terrible gas prices to fill up his modified Mercury Sable. That's because his home is America's first private hydrogen-powered house.

Strizki's garage is where the magic happens: it's topped by 56 solar panels that feed the house, 100 backup batteries inside the garage for nights and rainy days, as well as power an electrolyzer. The electrolyzer sorts water into H's and O's, and Strizki can then use the hydrogen gathered for both his home and vehicle's gas needs. Additional power options include a fuel cell stack, which generates both electricity and water by combing hydrogen and oxygen, and several tanks to store excess hydrogen.

On the best of days, Strizki solar panels are able to reap 90 kilowatt-hours of electricity, far more than the 10 kilowatt-hours his home needs daily to keep everything from his 50-inch plasma television to the three household computers and kitchen appliances. Green doesn't mean lean, in Strizki's case.

The conversion cost $100,000 of his own money, and he managed to raise an additional $400,000 in grants from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Sharp, Proton Energy Systems and Swagelok also chipped in on some of the technology. Mike Strizki's carbon footprints are tiny. Sign me up for a hydrogen house.

Via Scientific American