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Hydrogen Explained


Power to gas sees hydrogen play a new role

Our readers may remember that some time ago (2010) I talked about using hydrogen as an energy storage medium for renewables:

Recent events have seen this concept come much closer to reality, both in the UK and in Germany. In the UK, the Technology Strategy Board has provided funding for the GridGas project. This is essentially a feasibility study to see if hydrogen gas generated from renewables can be directly injected in to the UK gas grid. The project's aim is to join all of the different components together and provide a well-rounded, financially viable solution. GridGas features some impressive partners, including Shell, National Grid, Kiwa, ITM Power and the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell association. ITM Power is the lead partner in the project

“Megawatt scale energy storage is now a vital plant component in the power industry to balance supply and demand and this product is ITM’s first offering to the sector.” Dr Graham Cooley CEO, ITM Power plc

Meanwhile, over in Germany ITM power have also been working with the Thüga Group project, to supply a 360kW Power-to-Gas energy storage plant. The unit will produce 125kg/day of hydrogen gas and be situated in Hessen, Frankfurt.

Michael Riechel, CTO, Thüga Aktiengesellschaft, commented: “In the decade between 2020 and 2030 we will need to store excess renewable energy in significant volumes. We have calculated that the municipal natural gas network is capable of storing all future generated excess renewable energy. In order to transform green electricity into hydrogen or methane we need an economic best practice. It is important for the advancement of Power-to-Gas technology to make the transition from lab to practical demonstration. We believe that the natural gas distribution system could be the battery of the future, and we are now building the charger.\"

There are also a number of other projects that have rapidly taken shape Germany:

The large utility companies are paying close attention as these projects solve problems that have dogged the renewable sector for some considerable time. This is reflected by the fact that Germany has the largest number of power to gas projects and a rapidly growing renewable energy sector because of the shift away from Nuclear power.