The main system building houses power inverters, air compressors, water moisture removal, hydrogen and nitrogen generators, environmental control, tractor storage area, and most of the control and instrumentation equipment.
The power subsystem includes three sets of 12- 3' x 5' solar panel modules mounted on two-axis tracker assemblies. The trackers follow the movement of the sun.
Three power inverters convert direct current (DC) produced from the solar arrays to alternating current (AC), which is used by the system components, or fed to the grid when not needed by the system. The air conditioner (in the background) cools the equipment room in the summer and maintains the electrolyzer room temperature above freezing in the winter.
The equipment room contains the rack control panel (foreground, right side), used to manually set subsystem functions to Manual, Auto or Off; the water deionizer (far right corner), purifies well water for use by the hydrogen generator; and the Valve and Pressure Status Board on the left back wall. David Toyne is shown monitoring the system.
The controls and instrumentation assembly is located in the main system building. It controls the operation of the hydrogen and nitrogen generators, air compressors, air purification hardware; hydrogen, nitrogen, and mixed gas pumps, ammonia generation, and tractor hydrogen fueling. A display panel that shows system performance information can be monitored via the Internet.
The hydrogen generator on the left uses electrical power to breakdown water into hydrogen and oxygen gases using a proton exchange membrane. The nitrogen generator on the right and associated surge tank uses a dual bed Pressure Swing Absorption unit to make 99.995% pure nitrogen. The hydrogen flows to the hydrogen storage tank, and the nitrogen is pumped into the nitrogen storage tank. The oxygen is vented to the atmosphere.
Two air compressors, one 5 h.p. and the second, 7.5 h.p. variable power, provide air to power the nitrogen generator, the hydrogen, nitrogen and mixed gases pumps and to control the isolation valves. The second compressor is housed in the tractor storage room. A refrigerant dryer and desiccant canisters (affixed to wall) remove moisture from the compressed air.
A metal hut containing the hydrogen pump assembly is in an isolated fenced area separate from the main system building. The tractor fueling stand is to the left and hydrogen staging tank on the right.
A hydrogen pump assembly contains two air-driven hydrogen pumps. One pump compresses hydrogen into the storage tanks; the other pumps hydrogen from the storage tanks into the tractor tanks.
A 1000 gallon staging tank (background) stores hydrogen at up to 200 psi. The eight composite storage tanks contain compressed hydrogen at up to 3500 psi.
The 10 ft x 10 ft ammonia shed contains the ammonia generation subsystem. David Toyne and Jay Schmuecker are by the mini ammonia nurse tank.
When the residual mixed gases, nitrogen and hydrogen are compressed in the blue cylinders to 3500 psi, and the reactor catalyst electrically preheated, the gases are routed through the dark blue plexiglass shrouded reactor. The liquid ammonia is collected in the horizontal lower right tank and the residual gases flow into the red cylinder. The green cylinder contains nitrogen which maintains the 3500 psi pressure in the reactor.
The north wall of the ammonia shed showing the mixed gas pump and nitrogen pump below the window, the pneumatic control valves, surge tanks and pressure displays below the window.
The tractor is fueled with hydrogen using a dispenser mounted on an elevated work stand. Ammonia is pumped into the tractor ammonia tank from the ammonia storage tank.
The centerpiece of the solar-hydrogen system is a John Deere 7810 tractor outfitted with a modified Ford 460 cu. in. V-8 engine. It runs on hydrogen gas or a combination of hydrogen and ammonia.