Humboldt State University

Schatz Energy Research Center

Zweig Education Building Fuel Cell System

A control unit and screen connected to a fuel cell power system.

Zweig Education Building Fuel Cell System (left side).

In 2003 SERC installed a 1.5-kW stationary fuel cell system to help power the Zweig Education Building at SunLine Transit Agency’s headquarters in Thousand Palms, California. The system demonstrates the seamless transfer between fuel cell system power and utility grid power and was designed to be safe, easy to operate, visually attractive, and educational in nature.

The fuel cell system includes three major components: 1) In the center is the stack, mounted on a shelving unit along with its air blower, cooling equipment, and an AC inverter; 2) to the left is the control and monitoring system; 3) the hydrogen storage cabinet stands on the right. The cabinet can accommodate two hydrogen cylinders. A computer monitor next to the fuel cell system displays real-time fuel cell operating data and an animated schematic of the fuel cell stack.

The fuel cell and gas storage cabinet of the fuel cell power system, with solar panels visible through the windo behind them.

Zweig Education Building Fuel Cell System (right side).

The 48-cell proton exchange membrane stack incorporated design features developed and patented by SERC. The hydrogen used to power this system is produced from solar energy at the adjacent Schatz Hydrogen Generation Center. This system powers lighting, a computer and projector, and other plug loads at the Zweig building. The Zweig building is an integral part of SunLine’s alternative transportation fuels education and outreach efforts. It complements other SERC/SunLine collaborations based at SunLine headquarters, including a hydrogen-powered vehicle fleet and the Schatz Hydrogen Generation Center.