Advances in technology is paving the way for hydrogen energy storage and Germany is taking on this route after dabbling in wind and solar.
Germany has a line up of around 20 test projects involving the use of electrolysis as a means of producing hydrogen which in turn makes banking excess renewable energy possible.
The technology presents an advantage over other storage techniques in that Installation doesn’t pose much of a challenge. Also its capacity for holding energy is quite high. The downside however lies in its low efficiency as more than half of the electricity is wasted in the process. Still, continuing improvements in technology and its impact on costs have made electrolysis as an enabler for hydrogen storage.
Two prominent companies namely Siemens and Hydrogenics have been contributing to these advancements.
German company Siemens has developed the biggest proton exchange membrane electrolyser that could adapt to intermittencies of wind as well as solar. Currently, the company is building the facility that will house these devices in Germany. The project will be launched in 2015 and is expected to generate around 650,000 kg of hydrogen annually.
Meanwhile, Hydrogenics which has manufacturing plants in Germany is also coming up with a compact electrolyser. It’s approximately one-tenth smaller than traditional alkaline electrolyser, a feature which makes it easy to install and cheaper to manufacture.
As more innovations in electrolyser devices are introduced, the over-all cost of employing hydrogen energy storage will tend to go down. Eventually this storage type would measure up or even surpass other storage options and Germany appears to believe so.
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