ITM Power (AIM: ITM), the energy storage and clean fuel company, announces that following the sale of a 360kW Power-to-Gas energy storage plant, announced on 13 March 2013, the Thüga Group has now started construction of its Power-to-Gas pilot plant in Frankfurt. The following announcement was made by Thüga last week in Germany.
The Thüga Group starts construction of its power-to-gas pilot plant in Frankfurt
Over the course of a three-year operation 13 Thüga partners will test power-to-gas storage technology using the gas distribution network. In addition to testing the technical feasibility, the companies are calling for framework conditions that will enable reliable and economical operation of this technology.
Munich/Frankfurt am Main: 3 July 2013, the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Thüga Group power-to-gas pilot plant took place in Frankfurt am Main. “I am delighted that this innovative facility will be built in the state of Hesse. It will be an important contribution in the area of research and development of storage technologies,” emphasised the Environment Minister for Hesse, Lucia Puttrich. By the end of 2013 the plant should be converting electricity into hydrogen for the first time and feeding into the local gas distribution network. Between then and 2016, the companies will gain experience in how the plant works under practical conditions.
“I am delighted that four companies from Rhineland-Palatinate are involved in the testing of this technology. And that our state will benefit from the results gained here,” said Uwe Hüser, State Secretary for Rhineland-Palatinate at the Ministry for the Economy, Climate Protection, Energy and Regional Planning.
Dr. Petra Roth, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Thüga Holding GmbH & Co. KGaA and former Lord Mayor of Frankfurt, praised the joint action, “In this project 13 municipal companies are combining their expertise and capital. It’s clever, sustainable and responsible. When local authorities and municipal utilities join together to tackle challenges, they can be resolved more efficiently.”
The project partners include badenova AG & Co. KG, Erdgas Mittelsachsen GmbH, Energieversorgung Mittelrhein GmbH, erdgas schwaben gmbh, ESWE Versorgungs AG, Gasversorgung Westerwald GmbH, Mainova Aktiengesellschaft, Stadtwerke Ansbach GmbH, Stadtwerke Bad Hersfeld GmbH, Thüga Energienetze GmbH, WEMAG AG, e-rp GmbH as well as Thüga Aktiengesellschaft as project coordinator. The operational phase will be supervised by scientific project partners and by the Hesse Ministry for Environment, Energy, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.
The core of the plant is the electrolyser which is more environmentally friendly and more flexible to load.
The plant is being built on the Mainova Aktiengesellschaft site in Schielestrasse in Frankfurt am Main. “Frankfurt was chosen because the infrastructure to connect an electrolysis plant was already available,” says Michael Riechel, member of the Thüga Aktiengesellschaft Management Board. In addition, the minimum gas sales in the region necessary for operation are guaranteed even in the summer months when consumption is low.
At the core of the plant is a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser produced by ITM Power. The project partners have opted for this facility because, in comparison with alkaline electrolysers, the operating medium is water rather than a potassium hydroxide solution and is therefore more environmentally friendly. Furthermore, the system reacts more quickly to changes in the electrical load on the grid thanks to the PEM electrolyser. A further advantage is the compact design, as a higher output can be achieved in the same unit area. The plant will produce around 60 cubic metres of hydrogen per hour and so feed 3000 cubic metres of natural gas enriched with hydrogen into the grid per hour. An expansion of the pilot plant is planned from 2016 and the hydrogen will then be converted to methane and fed into the gas distribution network.
Framework conditions must be right
In view of the high energy volumes to be stored, power-to-gas technology is of great importance. An analysis by Thüga has shown that the storage requirements could be 17 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2020 and could even reach 50 TWh in 2050. The municipal gas distribution networks can manage these quantities in principle. “Our gas distribution networks could therefore be the battery of the future,” said Riechel. In order to allow the power-to-gas storage technology to realise its full potential, it first requires temporary start-up funding in the form of state grants in order to achieve a certain readiness for market as well as a legal foundation for this technology. So that operators should be exempt from end-user fees, for example. “Energy storage facilities and therefore power-to-gas technology are a key to the success of the Energiewende (energy turnaround). To develop them we need a sustainable market model in Germany in the long-term – such as the one presented by the Thüga Group – in order to secure the economic operation of energy storage,” says Riechel.
Commenting on the announcement, ITM Power GmbH Managing Director, Phil Doran, said: “We are delighted that Thüga Group has started construction of what will be a vital reference site for all our partners as well as for national and regional government in Germany and ITM Power. From the end of this year, when it is up and running, this plant will become the focal point of our sales and marketing in the Power-to-Gas sector in Europe.”
For further information please visit www.itm-power.com or contact:
ITM Power plc
Graham Cooley, CEO
+44 (0)114 244 5111
ITM Power GmbH
Phil Doran, Managing Director
+49 (0)6084 950012
Simon Hudson / Kelsey Traynor
+44 (0)20 7920 3150
450 cities and boroughs with responsibility for the living environment of around eight million people have brought together their 100 municipal energy and water utility companies to form the Thüga Group. The aim is to create added value for each environmental area and to secure local values long-term through their collaboration. In total the Thüga Group employs 18,100 staff. They provide almost 3.6 million customers with electricity, around 2.1 million customers with natural gas and 0.9 million customers with drinking water. The turnover of the Thüga network in 2012 was 22.3 billion euros. The Thüga Group is Germany’s largest municipal network of local and regional energy suppliers. The roles are clearly allocated within the Thüga Group: the 100 partners take care of active marketing efforts with their local and regional brands. Thüga – financial partner of the cities and boroughs and, in this capacity, minority shareholder in the partner companies – is the core element of the group and is tasked with business development: attracting new partners, value retention and development of the company, coordination and facilitation of projects as well as control of collaboration in the group.
ITM Power plc was admitted to the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in 2004 and raised its initial funding of £10m gross in its IPO. Further funding rounds of £28.5m in 2006 and £5.4m in 2012 have been completed. The Company has now made the transition from a research and development company to a product manufacturer and technology provider. The Company has both a strong base of intellectual property and engineering expertise for providing complete hydrogen solutions. The Company has been successful in developing strategic industry partnerships in the following projects: