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SustainHuts project continues to contribute to improving air quality in high mountains. The mountain refuges are equipped with hydrogen storage.
The technologies installed during the implementation of the SUSTAIUNHUTS project have continued to contribute to the further improvement of air quality in mountain environments. The project ended its execution in October 2021, but the technologies installed have continued to operate without relevant incidents in the 9 mountain refuges involved in the project.
The Aragonese mountain refuges of the Aragonese Mountaineering Federation (FAM) are open all year round and the installed elements have been in use and free of incidents in the refuges of Lizara, Llauset, Estós and Góriz.
At Bachimaña, the prototype system for seasonal energy storage in the form of hydrogen is partially operational, in its H2 generation and pressurised storage section, and modifications have recently been made to the electrical installation at the refuge that will allow the stored H2 to be used. With respect to the Montfalcó refuge, a malfunction was observed in two of the inverters, which will be monitored to assess whether they need to be replaced.
CAI’s Italian refuge (Rifugio di Torino) was open from 20 May to 2 November because the Skyway cable car used to access the refuge was closed due to management costs related to the increased cost of electricity. The refuge rangers report excellent operation of the water recovery plant, which has allowed the refuge to be supplied with water throughout the season.
The French refuge of Dent Parrachée, owned by FFCAM, has been operating without major incidents; the only setbacks have been related to the freezing of the output pipe of the hydraulic micro-turbine, and to the regulation of the battery charge. The users of the refuge have shown great satisfaction with the comfort achieved in the building after the refurbishment carried out two years ago. On the other hand, the team of rangers are also very happy with the technologies installed, as the shelter now has a greater capacity for the production of renewable electrical energy, as well as a greater capacity for hot water.
Finally, the Slovenian shelters of Dom Valentina Staniča and Pogačnikov, managed by PZS, which are open only in summer, report virtually uneventful operation, with the exception of a two-day interruption in the battery power supply at Dom Valentina due to a collector failure. Both refuge guards and users have expressed their satisfaction with the operation of the electrical system, as it is now possible to use microwaves and dishwashers, as well as to charge the mobile phones of mountaineers arriving at the refuge without restrictions.
Since the start of operation of the technologies installed in the refuge to improve its sustainability, the cumulative impact across all refuges until the end of 2022 on the main indicators is as follows:
Renewable electricity production (photovoltaic, micro-wind, hydro): 230.000 kWh
Diesel saved: 50,000 kg
Natural gas saved: 13,000 kg
Propane gas saved: 7.000 kg
Amount of CO2 avoided to the atmosphere: 224 tonnes