E.ON Breaks Ground on Wind-to-Hydrogen Pilot Plant

18 Oct 2012

E.ON Wind to Hydrogen Project

Photo: E.ON

This week the foundation stone was laid for the E.ON wind-to-gas installation in Falkenhagen, northeast Germany. This pilot project will see excess electricity from wind power used to produce hydrogen by electrolysis, which will then be fed into the natural gas grid. It will test the concept of storing renewable energy – that would otherwise be wasted – in usable form in the gas grid.

At the groundbreaking Peter Klingenberg, CEO of E.ON Gas Storage GmbH, said that the natural gas network is well developed and has a 900 millimeter pipeline which can transport as much energy as six high-voltage power lines. He compared this to the controversial construction of high-voltage lines to transmit electricity from remote wind farms to where the demand is in Germany. In addition, wind power is highly variable and often the grid cannot accept the electricity generated.

For this pilot project, E.ON initially wants to use standard components, such as electrolysers that have up to now been used for the production of technical hydrogen. Project manager René Schoof says they want to increase the efficiency of components that would need to respond second-by-second to variations in wind, and test their interaction. In addition, the measurement protocol must be tested because hydrogen has a lower [volumetric] energy density than natural gas, but this shouldn’t impact the end user.

E.ON specifically chose Prignitz as the location for the pilot project: there are a number of wind turbines connected to the grid and the electric infrastructure is available. In addition it is close to an ONTRAS gas pipeline, which from March 2013 will accept up to 360 cubic metres of hydrogen per hour from the pilot plant.

Energy storage capacity is needed to allow the introduction of significant quantities of variable renewable sources into the energy mix.

Source: Märkische Allgemeine (rewritten from the German)


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