The state-of-the-art P2G plant is part of a new system that links together the supply of local electricity, natural gas, and district heating.
Any excess electricity from renewable sources is converted into hydrogen, so it can be stored within the natural gas network. It can be recovered later for use in electricity production with an extremely high utilisation rate of 86%.
‘In order to be able to pick up excess electricity from renewable sources onto our grid, we need alternatives to conventional grid expansion methods,’ explains Dr Joachim Schneider, CTO of RWE Deutschland.
‘The hydrogen that is created by electrolysis can be stored, and later used to generate power,’ continues Schneider. ‘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.’
A central element of the P2G plant is a shipping container-sized electrolyser from ITM Power, which was ordered last December.
The electrolyser converts into hydrogen any power from renewable sources – such as solar panels or wind turbines – that is not immediately required. It is then mixed into the natural gas network via a gas pressure regulation station, which also utilises the ‘waste’ heat from the electrolyser.
In times of low renewable power production, the previously stored natural gas can be extracted from the storage facility, and used in a cogeneration plant within the RWE district heating network in Ibbenbüren to generate power.
The P2G plant in Ibbenbüren has a rated power output of 150 kW, and creates hydrogen at 14 bar pressure.