A 360kW hydrogen power-to-gas energy storage plant sold by ITM Power to Thüga Group in Germany is under construction.
The pilot plant in Schielestrasse, Frankfurt is designed to test power-to-gas storage technology using the gas distribution network. Frankfurt was chosen for its readily available infrastructure to connect an electrolysis plant.
The plant should be operational by the end of 2013 to convert electricity into hydrogen and feed it into the local gas distribution network. The pilot will run for three years to get real-world experience of how the plant will operate,
The plant will produce around 60 cubic metres of hydrogen per hour and so feed 3000 cubic metres of natural gas enriched with hydrogen into the grid per hour. An expansion of the pilot plant is planned from 2016 and the hydrogen will then be converted to methane and fed into the gas distribution network.
At the core of the plant is a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser produced by ITM Power. This was chosen over an alkaline electrolyser because the use of water is more environmentally sound than a potassium hydroxide solution required by alkaline.
The PEM electrolyser allows the system to react quickly to changes in the electrical load on the grid.
Thirteen companies, including four from the Rhineland are involved in the testing of the technology, which Environment Minister for the area, Lucia Puttrich, called “an important contribution in the area of research and development of storage technologies.”