The Thüga Group’s Power-to-Gas (“P2G”) plant, for which ITM supplied the electrolyser in 2013, has been successfully qualified to offer secondary balancing power. This is significant because the system has now passed all the respective ability tests specified by the Transmission System Operator (TSO). The electrolyser will join a pool of grid balancing assets hosted by local utility company Mainova AG, where it will be bid into the market under the control of TenneT, the TSO. The Thüga Group release is below:
Thüga’s P2G plant has been qualified to participate in the market for secondary balancing power. “This means yet another goal has been reached. As demonstrated in earlier tests, the electrolyser itself responds rapidly to load changes, – a prerequisite for participation in the balancing energy market”, according to spokesman and member of the Thüga Aktiengesellschaft Executive Board, Michael Riechel. The plant, which is operated by Thüga together with 12 partners from the Thüga Group, will principally take part in the market for negative secondary balancing power. This implies when electrical supply exceeds current demand, the electrolyser will increase its electrical consumption as and when required to do so by the transmission system operator (TSO).The plant then takes this power and coverts it into hydrogen, simultaneously contributing to the stability of the electrical grid. The P2G plant will be part of Mainova’s balancing pool, where in this operation mode the plant will follow the commands given by TenneT, the TSO.
The deployment of PEM electrolysis in a P2G configuration, including the injection of hydrogen into the gas distribution network, is a new application for this technology: “The Thüga P2G plant was the first of its kind to be deployed world-wide” according to Phil Doran, MD of ITM Power PLC, the plant manufacturer.
The 13 partners making up the Thüga P2G platform, decided to use PEM technology given its inherent load flexibility, its compact footprint and because it is extremely environmentally friendly. Riechel stressed “We are undertaking pioneering work in many areas with this technology, making our results highly relevant”. The first comprehensive ability-test showed that the efficiency of the whole plant – from electrical input to injecting hydrogen into the gas network – reaches as high as 77% (with respect to the higher heating value) over the relevant load range of 50 to approx. 320 kW. “One of the reasons for this high efficiency is due to the fact that we directly inject into the gas distribution network and thus do not need to deploy a compressor”, Riechel added.
Working together with the European Institute for Energy Research and the research arm of the German Gas and Water Association at the Engler-Bunt Institute (DVGW-EBI) the first test was carried out at the start of this year. It included analysing the efficiency, reaction speed, load behaviour and the quality of the output gas. This test will be repeated twice more before the project’s end in December 2016.
In addition to analysing the plant’s technical parameters, how to integrate it into a future intelligent energy system, characterised by a high proportion of renewable energy, will also be investigated during the project. “During the life of the demonstration we want to integrate the plant so that it actively contributes to balancing the difference between renewable energy production and energy consumption”, Riechel added. To this end the Fraunhofer Institut für Solare Energiesysteme (ISE) is developing software for such a real-time operation.
Phil Doran, MD, ITM Power GmbH, commented: “We are delighted that the electrolyser supplied to the Thüga Group continues to operate well under varying conditions. Achieving qualification for the market for secondary balancing power demonstrates that the plant satisfies the stringent grid balancing requirements here in Germany, adding to the attraction of PEM P2G plants.”