German utility company RWE has launched a power-to-gas plant in the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) region of Ibbenbüren, which integrates the supply of local electricity, natural gas and district heating.
Intended for storing energy to meet future demands in the region, the facility has a rated power output of 150kW that will be producing hydrogen under 14-bar pressure.
It will enable conversion of the excess electricity from solar and wind sources into hydrogen. This hydrogen will later be used as fuel for Ibbenbüren’s district heating systems.
RWE Deutschland CEO Dr Arndt Neuhaus said: "Energy storage solutions will become an essential element of our future electricity system, where, according to German Government plans, in fifteen years’ time, renewable energy sources will cover 50% of the country’s power needs, or almost double the current rate.
"Our electricity grid will have to perform at an even higher level than before to achieve this.
"Under these changed conditions, the power-to-gas technology will be an exemplary solution, as it makes it possible for us to respond immediately to fluctuating volumes of incoming power."
RWE Deutschland CTO Dr Joachim Schneider said: "In order to be able to pick up excess electricity from renewable sources onto our grid, we need alternatives to conventional grid expansion methods.
"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."
UK-based energy firm ITM Power has delivered the electrolyser, which is a central element required for the facility and is the size of a shipping container.
Image: (from left) NRW KlimaExpo CEO Dr Heinrich Dornbusch, NRW Minister of Economics Garrelt Duin, RWE Deutschland CEO Arndt Neuhaus, Ibbenbüren Mayor Heinz Steingröver and RWE Deutschland CTO Joachim Schneider at the launch of the RWE power-to-gas plant. Photo: courtesy of RWE AG.