Storing wind energy in the form of hydrogen
An energy park is set to be created in Mainz for completion by 2015. The idea is to temporarily store electricity from wind energy as hydrogen. This can be used as fuel, for generating heat or for reconverting the stored energy back into electricity. The electrolysis plant shall absorb up to six megawatts of electricity and balance out bottlenecks in the distribution grid. This would make it the largest plant of its kind.
It is intended that renewables shall supply around 80 per cent of the electricity requirement by 2050. The German Federal Government’s Energy Storage Funding Initiative is therefore supporting technological developments that lower costs and contribute to rapid market introductions.
Together with Linde, Siemens and RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, the Mainz municipal utility company is using wind energy to generate hydrogen in the new Mainz Energy Park. The electrolysis plant absorbs surplus wind energy and produces hydrogen.
“The hydrogen can be stored more easily and can be used in diverse ways, such as for hydrogen filling stations or as fuel for gas power plants,” says Jonas Aichinger, project coordinator for the energy park scheme. The Mainz Energy Park is being created in the business park in Hechtsheim near Mainz. Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin at the end of this year and is set to go into operation in spring 2015.
“The plant can absorb up to 6 megawatts of electricity and therefore has an output class that is relevant for bottlenecks in the distribution grid. Consequently, similar systems can be used purposefully in many locations in future,” explains Jonas Aichinger. This would make it the largest plant of its kind to date.
As fuel, for generating heat and for reconversion back into electricity
The hydrogen shall be fed into the natural gas network, where it can be used for heating or in gas-fired power plants and CHP units to provide combined heat and electricity generation. Researchers also want to investigate whether the hydrogen produced can be used in combined cycle gas turbine plants as a fuel for regenerating electricity.
The core of the research plant is a hydrogen electrolysis system developed by Siemens. This breaks down water into its components hydrogen and oxygen. All the main components for storing energy using hydrogen are being tested out in the Energy Park, such as electrolysis, gas injection, hydrogen compressors, pressure accumulators and trailer filling.