Hydrogenics Corporation has announced that its E.ON inaugurated commercial operations has begun at its Power-to-Gas (P2G) facility in Falkenhagen, Germany. The plant uses wind power and Hydrogenics’ electrolysis equipment to transform water into hydrogen, which is then injected into the existing regional natural gas transmission system. The hydrogen, as part of the natural gas mix, can be used in a variety of applications including space heating, industrial processes, mobility, and power generation. The facility, which has a capacity of two megawatts, produces 360 cubic meters of hydrogen per hour.
“This project makes E.ON one of the first companies to demonstrate that surplus energy can be stored in the gas pipeline system in order to help balance supply against demand,” said Dr. Ingo Luge, CEO of E.ON Deutschland. “This method of energy storage is considered a key technology for the transformation of Germany’s energy system. It will reduce the need to take wind turbines offline when the local grid is congested and will therefore enable us to harness more wind power.”
Swissgas, which represents over 100 local natural gas utilities, is a partner in the project with a 20 percent capital stake and an agreement to purchase a portion of the gas produced. Dr. Heinrich Schwendener, a member of the organization’s Board of Management, said during an inauguration ceremony, “Swissgas’ involvement demonstrates the significant value of Switzerland’s gas infrastructure, which enables us to transport and store regenerative energy across national boundaries.”
The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Dr. Philipp Rosler, Germany’s Economics and Technology Minister; Dr. Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament; and Henning Heidemanns; State Secretary in the Ministry of Economics and European Affairs of the Federal State of Brandenburg, along with nearly 200 other guests.
“One of the biggest challenges of transforming Germany’s energy system is finding ways to integrate the increasing share of intermittent, renewable-source energy,” said Minister Rosler. “To ensure that Germany’s power system remains stable and that our economy continues to have the energy it needs, we not only have to rapidly expand energy networks but also require innovative solutions like the P2G unit here in Falkenhagen.”
Daryl Wilson, CEO of Hydrogenics, added, “We are delighted to see this plant now in full commercial use. In April of this year we announced a second Power-to-Gas project with E.ON for the city of Hamburg, which is currently under construction. That facility, containing the world’s largest single mega-watt PEM stack, is expected to be delivered in the spring of 2014. These projects serve as a platform for upcoming Power-to-Gas facilities not only in Europe but around the world.”