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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 16:53 GMT
Bright nights from solar energy
Solar panels
Solar panels have helped to cut down Napier's carbon emissions
Scientists are to help power an Edinburgh university by generating electricity when its solar panels are not working at night.

Experts at Napier University want to use the electricity produced by the solar panels during the day to create hydrogen gas through electrolysis.

The hydrogen gas produced can be stored under pressure for use later in a fuel cell to produce an electrical current.

Professor Tariq Muneer said there would be no harmful carbon emissions.

The project, which is using money from the Scottish Research Investment Funding, costs about 70,000 and is to start in June 2007.

This project will be the first of its kind in Scotland
Prof Tariq Muneer
Napier University

Prof Muneer, director of research at the School of Engineering, said: "Hydrogen can be produced fairly cheaply using electrolysis of water. However, there are dirty and clean ways of producing hydrogen.

"The clean way is to use renewable energy, like the solar panels, rather than fossil fuels to power the electrolysis.

"This project will be the first of its kind in Scotland and will demonstrate the complete cycle of renewable energy - production, storage, and transportation.

Computer power

"Hydrogen fuel cells have massive potential to end reliance on fossil fuels which are a major contributor to global warming."

Napier creates part of its electricity through the solar panels, which were installed in June last year and generate about 13MWh per year - enough to power 60 of the 500 computers in the Jack Kilby Computing Centre at Merchiston.

The panels are BP Solar "Saturn" high-efficiency models and are non-reflective and self-cleaning.

They have already reduced Napier's carbon emissions by nine tonnes.




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