E.ON is developing a EUR5m ($6.8m) pilot plant in Germany to convert power from wind energy into hydrogen which can then be stored in the country’s gas grid.
The plant in Falkenhagen is expected to be operational by 2013, when it will produce hydrogen through electrolysis. The hydrogen will be fed into the Ontras gas pipeline system and be used like normal natural gas.
E.ON states that currently up to 5 per cent of hydrogen can be added to the natural gas grid without any problems, and in the medium term experts expect this to rise to 15 per cent.
Klaus-Dieter Maubach of E.ON’s technology and development group, said: “We need new storage capacities so that we can further increase the share of weather-dependent wind power in our generation portfolio in coming years.
“Using the existing gas infrastructure to store hydrogen is a promising approach in the long run, enabling us to combine our strengths as a power and gas company.”