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SOLAR ENERGY

BUSINESS OWNERS

HySnow - zero emission winter tourism using hydrogen technology

Austria
Fronius provides important components for the hydrogen ecosystem with a refuelling system and snowmobile

HySnow – Winter tourism becomes more sustainable

Sustainability for winter tourism is finally here. Those in off-grid mountain huts have already known about photovoltaic systems for many years. In the transport sector too, steps are also being taken towards CO2-free refuelling. With the innovative “HySnow” project, the foundations are being laid for the next phase. The term HySnow refers to the entire chain, from the photovoltaic system and hydrogen production with refuelling system, to a small fleet of fuel-cell powered snowmobiles, which have been developed, built and tested under real-life operating conditions at the Hinterstoder-Wurzeralm ski resort in Austria. The green electricity for the refuelling system is generated using a 34.5 kWp PV system with Fronius Symo inverters. The primary goal of the pilot project is the decarbonisation of winter tourism.

Hydrogen refuelling system with green PV energy from Fronius inverters

The Lynx HySnow is being used as the snowmobile, which is based on the tried-and-tested Lynx 69 Ranger Alpine. The starting model has been completely revamped, going from having a combustion engine to being a sustainable electrically powered vehicle, complete with a hydrogen fuel cell. The fuel needed – here green hydrogen – is generated directly on the mountain, using a 34.5 kWp PV system. This type of energy production and distribution offers the enormous benefit of local added value. Clean solar energy is coupled with an electrolysis module with a downstream compressor, thus establishing a 350 bar tank infrastructure. Fronius provides the project with important components that are needed to produce and process hydrogen: two Fronius Symo inverters form the energy source for producing hydrogen from solar power.

 

Photo: © Rotax

Green hydrogen – CO2-free and practically silent

The Lynx HySnow is refuelled using hydrogen generated from a dedicated PV system, making it completely emissions-free. Another advantage of hydrogen-powered vehicles is that they are almost silent and CO2-neutral. They operate regardless of temperature fluctuations and achieve higher ranges than conventional electric vehicles. The Lynx HySnow is mostly used in winter tourism fields, but can also be used for mountain rescue.

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How does HySnow, the holistic hydrogen ecosystem with refuelling system, work?

As an innovative energy carrier, hydrogen provides electrical energy in conjunction with a fuel cell. Refuelling of the Lynx HySnow is performed under high pressure, whereby the hydrogen is stored in a gaseous form. The stored hydrogen and oxygen from the ambient air are combined in the fuel cell, thus releasing electrical energy. This form of “cold combustion” produces nothing but water and is completely free of any harmful emissions.  

Operating the system in Alpine surroundings with low temperatures, reduced air pressure and changing weather conditions, presents a particular challenge. The system has a large hydrogen storage system in order to compensate for weather-related disruption and to ensure unrestricted vehicle operation.    

The project covers the entire energy chain, from the photovoltaic system and hydrogen production with refuelling system, to a small fleet of fuel-cell-powered snowmobiles. Tests are being carried out at the Hinterstoder-Wurzeralm ski resort in the Austrian Alps under real-life operating conditions.

Several project partners came together to share their know-how as part of the “White mobility revolution” project with HySnow.

 

BRP-Rotax GmbH&CoKG is the consortium leader of the four-year project and is being supported by Fronius International GmbH, HyCentA Research GmbH, the Institute of Electrical Measurement and Measurement Signal Processing (EMT) of TU Graz, Elring Klinger AG, ECuSoL GmbH and Hinterstoder-Wurzeralm Bergbahnen AG as project partners.

 

HySnow is being funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency and the Climate and Energy Fund.


Fronius has been a hydrogen pioneer for years

Fronius has been researching and developing hydrogen solutions for two decades and has become the innovation leader in solar hydrogen. Martin Hackl, head of the Business Unit Solar Energy, is clear: “At Fronius, we are certain that green hydrogen represents a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels for mobility.” With the Fronius Solhub, the company is offering a complete turnkey solution for decentralized hydrogen production, storage and supply, which is available immediately. Municipalities, companies and organisations with their own vehicle fleet can produce their own fuel in the form of green hydrogen using the Fronius Solhub. Large roof areas are often available to install the photovoltaic systems and the generation of clean, green hydrogen can begin.

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