Report claims hydrogen conversion the key for renewables

A new report claims that conversion of power to hydrogen storage could provide the solution required for renewable energy to flourish.

The study from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking à‚ (FCHJU) maintains that conversion to hydrogen can provide a store for all of the excess electricity produced by the renewable power generation industries.

It adds that power to gas storage using hydrogen electrolysers can be a solution if the regulatory framework and fee system are adjusted.
Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking
The report, Commercialisation of Energy Storage in Europe, also points to a huge potential power to gas storage industry, with the European energy storage potential for electrolysis estimated at several hundred GW and 170 GW in Germany alone if 2050 decarbonisation targets are to be met.

The authors of the study recommend that policymakers address the low degree of regulatory acknowledgement of storage as a specific component of power supply and exempt electrolysers from final consumption fees.

Prof Marcus Newborough, development director of Aim”listed electrolyser specialist ITM Power,à‚  told Proactive Investors website: “Making power systems greener by deploying renewables leads to the production of excess energy and exacerbates grid balancing.”

“Utilising the excess, rather than wasting it, forces decisions to be made about using energy storage as an enabler for decarbonisation. Among the energy storage technologies, electrolysis has a unique role in being able to offer value to all three legs of the energy system (power and heat and transport).”

Meanwhile Matt Cunningham of GE, Grid Solutions, told Power Engineering International of the pros and cons associated with the technology.

“Conversion to hydrogen has great benefits, as it links to automotive uses (buses, lorries etc). This ensures a potentially wider use of the ‘stored’ energy, other than electricity networks,” he said, before adding a word of caution, in terms of expections.

“Hydrogen is notoriously difficult to contain.à‚  I understand that due to the molecular nature, it dissipates out of most normal tanks/pipes, so storage or transport of large volumes is difficult and expensive.”

The report was funded by the FCHJU and compiled with a coalition of 32 organisations including Shell, Siemens, Alstom, Vattenfall and Eurogas.

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