ITM Power (AIM: ITM), the energy storage and clean fuel company, provides an update on the ground-breaking Thüga Power-to-Gas energy storage project following its first full year of successful operation. Thüga reported that the system has been declared ‘technically able to participate in the secondary power market’. This means that the electrolyser is technically capable of offering grid balancing services, which increases the economic viability of the technology.
The system has now undergone and passed its first annual re-assessment by TUEV Hessen. The electrolyser system has met every aspect of its specification including efficiency, remote control functionality and response time. The data for the plant has been shared with the partners under the project partnering agreement. The 300kW plant is the first and only rapid response PEM electrolyser plant to be injecting hydrogen into the German gas network. The first injection was on 26th Nov 2013.
The compliance challenge was significant, requiring CE conformity plus a permit to operate from TUEV Hessen. The process involved several independent assessments by UK Notified Bodies and TUEV, a thorough process which has contributed to ITM Power’s knowhow and experience while developing productive relationships.
After Site Acceptance testing, the electrolyser has undergone an extensive test programme devised by EIFER, the European Institute for Energy Research together with DVGW-EBI. This included multiple start/stop tests together with load modulation over the systems full range in order to challenge the systems reliability and to validate the ability of the system to assimilate intermittent renewable power.
A lighthouse project
In addition to technical success, the plant has also served as a lighthouse project attracting more than 300 visitors from multiple sectors around the world, as well as significant press interest, reflected not least in some 80 newspaper articles dealing with the plant. The project has enabled both ITM Power and the members of the Thüga Group to demonstrate the principle of PEM Power-to-Gas in action.
Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power commented: “ITM Power is delighted to have supplied the first and only rapid response PEM electrolyser plant to be injecting hydrogen into the German gas network. The first anniversary of injection demonstrates that there is a working solution to the problem of storing and managing renewable energy.”
Phil Doran, MD of ITM Power GMBH commented: “The project continues to prove the technical capability of ITM Power’s P2G product and the value of our cooperation with Germany’s leading association of civil utilities, the Thüga Group. Our continued involvement with the project has yielded substantial benefits to us all.”
Dr. Elke Wanke, project leader, Thüga Aktiengesellschaft says of Power-to-Gas, “I would argue that the technology’s deployment is inevitable owing to the amount of renewables coming on stream, and that by 2050 – based on our studies – there is likely to be a need to store as much as 50TWh. The annual storage capacity of the German gas distribution network is about four times larger than this quantity – and that’s the charm of P2G.”