A natural gas giant sees potential in new energy storage concepts involving infusion of hydrogen converted solar and wind energy with natural gas.
This concept may invite skepticism from some, but Enbridge saw its potential when it partnered with Hydrogenics, Inc. last year and invested $5 million for the exploration and development of energy storage networks in North America.
The group is exploring the possibility of maximising the capacity of its natural gas grid as an energy storage system and in turn boost capacities of electric grids. The process calls for transforming solar and wind energy to hydrogen through electrolysis. After conversion, hydrogen gas is infused into existing natural gas pipes for storage. As the need for “extra” power arises, gas will be fed into power-generating turbines that will in turn produce electricity.
Experts estimate that if 5% of hydrogen gas is infused into Ontario’s existing gas pipes, the stored energy could produce power that may feed the electrical requirements of more than 200,000 households in the area.
The return on Enbridge’s investment may not yet be realized; nevertheless, it’s already a step ahead as its partner firm actively pursues tests regarding conversion of wind energy to hydrogen and infusion into natural gas networks.
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