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Europe hosts trial of new energy storage technology

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 11:40 -- Paul Crompton
Europe hosts trial of  new energy storage technology

Germany’s focus on renewable energy continued this week with utility company RWE launching its state-of-the-art power-to-gas pilot plant in the country’s NRW region.

The €2million ($2.2million) plant converts surplus electricity from renewable sources into hydrogen, and stores it within the natural gas network in Ibbenbüren, Germany.

A central element of the plant is an electrolyser the size of a shipping container, built by the UK firm ITM Power.

It mixes hydrogen into the natural gas network via a gas pressure regulation station where the waste heat of the electrolyser is also utilised.

In times of low renewable power production, the gas can be siphoned off from the storage facility and used in a co-generation plant within the RWE district heating network in Ibbenbüren to generate power.

Dr Joachim Schneider, CTO of RWE Deutschland, said: “The benefit of this form of electricity storage is the enormous infrastructure already offered by the natural gas network – which has huge storage capacity and a high-performing network.”

The plant has a rated power output of 150 kilowatts and creates hydrogen under 14-bar pressure.