Inexperienced Hydrogen Kickstarts Huge Renewable Power Undertaking

Coal energy continues to be king in japanese Germany, however not for lengthy. The German vitality agency LEAG is launching a plan to develop as much as 14 gigawatts’ value of renewable vitality within the area, reworking it into “Germany’s Inexperienced Powerhouse.” Inexperienced hydrogen can be lending a hand, together with an vitality storage system primarily based on new movement battery know-how.

Extra Power Storage For Extra Inexperienced Hydrogen

Loads of ink has been spilled on the subject of movement batteries over time, on account of their promise of improved price, lifespan, scale, period, and security in comparison with the lithium-ion battery arrays which can be generally used for storing vitality from wind generators and photo voltaic panels (see extra CleanTechnica protection right here).

One of many movement battery innovators to come back throughout the CleanTechnica radar is the US firm ESS, Inc.  Apparently it caught the attention of LEAG, too. ESS will deploy its iron movement battery know-how as a key component in LEAG’s renewable vitality plans, which at the moment name for a variety of 7-14 gigawatts.

Power storage is an enabler of wind and solar energy, which in flip might be deployed to generate inexperienced hydrogen from water in an electrolysis system, so it’s no shock that LEAG is planning for a large 2-3 gigawatt community of vitality storage methods. The inexperienced hydrogen services will account for one more 2 gigawatts of vitality infrastructure.

LEAG and ESS plan to begin with a 50-megawatt (500 megawatt-hour) vitality storage facility to be situated on the website of the Boxberg Energy Plant within the japanese German state of Saxony. The modular, containerized system might be replicated all through LEAG’s Inexperienced Powerhouse plan.

“The ensuing 50 MW/500 MWh module is anticipated to turn into a standardized constructing block in LEAG’s plan to deploy 2-3 GWh of storage within the transformation of the LEAGs energy plant places,” the companions defined in an embargoed press launch.

“LEAG and companions plan to speculate 200Mio.€ (about $216 million) with additional assist anticipated from extra traders and stakeholders,” they add. “When totally operational, LEAG expects to reveal a renewable vitality system at scale which not solely replaces baseload coal era, however makes use of short-duration storage, LDES [long duration energy storage] and hydrogen to switch pure gasoline for grid balancing,” LEAG emphasised.

Grid Balancing & Inexperienced Hydrogen

That factor about grid balancing is essential. Energy vegetation must appropriate mismatches between provide and demand on the fly. Beneath a fossil gasoline situation, which means constructing a baseload energy plant that’s at all times out there to supply a certain quantity of electrical energy over a 24-hour interval.

When baseload energy vegetation can’t deal with the demand peaks, extra gasoline “peaker” vegetation could also be wanted. Peaker vegetation are designed to ramp up and down based on demand.

In a grid situation with excessive inputs of wind or photo voltaic vitality (or each), peaker vegetation would even be wanted to cowl night-time hours and different intervals when intermittent vitality assets should not out there. Nevertheless, the falling price of vitality storage is starting to render the peaker plant mannequin out of date, even with excessive renewable vitality inputs.

Coordinating the vitality demand of particular person ratepayers to create a “digital energy plant” is one other rising technique for easy out peak demand intervals with out constructing new peaker vegetation. Additionally serving to are good grid methods that may juggle adjustments in wind and photo voltaic availability.

Industrial operations may play a task in grid balancing, if they are often scheduled to make use of much less electrical energy throughout excessive demand intervals. That features the electrolysis methods that push hydrogen gasoline from water. An built-in inexperienced hydrogen community would function a grid balancing, vitality storage and transportation operate in live performance with the ESS movement batteries.

A Huge Leap For LEAG

LEAG describes itself as “a number one operator of large-scale lignite mining and coal-fired era in Japanese Germany that’s implementing a imaginative and prescient to rework the coal-dependent area into Germany’s Inexperienced Powerhouse.”

The query is, who would be the off-takers for the inexperienced hydrogen? Hydrogen gasoline cell electrical autos are nonetheless a rarity in comparison with battery-electric autos.

One strike in opposition to hydrogen-powered electrical autos is the dearth of a fueling station community, which is precisely what they used to say about battery-electric autos. In spite of everything, who would purchase a car of any type with out understanding the place to fill it up?

One answer is to concentrate on fleet managers who management their very own gasoline depots. Fleet electrification is already choosing up steam within the battery-powered area. Fleet operators are additionally starting to eyeball hydrogen gasoline cell autos for electrification.

Fleets present the jumping-off level for LEAG’s hydrogen plans. Its first venture consists of serving to the Lusatia regional public transportation operator, Cottbusverkehr GmbH, convert 55 buses in its fleet to inexperienced hydrogen.

The general public-private venture entails a 1.5 megawatt electrolyzer to be constructed and operated by LEAG. Inexperienced hydrogen from the power will go to a brand new Cottbusverkehr filling station. “Different venture companions embody the LEAG logistics subsidiary TSS, the transport and logistics firm REINERT and the waste disposal firm ALBA,” LEAG explains.

Energy for the electrolysis facility will come from renewable vitality, which brings up one other facet of the hen and egg dilemma. LEAG has that lined as nicely. Plans are within the works to function the power on a mixture of wind and photo voltaic together with some supplied by third events, to complement LEAG’s personal property.

The long-term plan requires the plant to run on native wind and photo voltaic initiatives underneath the LEAG umbrella.

From Coal Mining To Floating Photo voltaic

In an fascinating twist, one of many new property to feed the electrolysis facility will probably be a floating solar energy plant on Cottbus Ostsee, a human-built lake that sits on the location of a former LEAG open-air coal mine in Lusatia.

Plans for the coal-to-lake conversion took form in 2006 and the venture has lastly attain the filling stage. As soon as the filling is full, the lake and its grounds will serve primarily as a multi-use recreation vacation spot and wildlife conservation space.

The concept of dropping a floating solar energy plant onto the lake is a newer addition to the plan. Floating photo voltaic is a comparatively new phenomenon, however it’s catching on shortly as an add-on for synthetic lakes, reservoirs, and different water our bodies.

The Cottbus Ostsee floating photo voltaic venture was launched in 2021, and it’s transferring forward at a fast clip. Within the newest improvement, the main photo voltaic developer PFALZSOLAR GmbH has simply signed a contract to drift 29 megawatts’ value of photo voltaic panels onto the lake, and they aren’t letting the grass develop underneath their ft. The corporate anticipates that the brand new solar energy plant will probably be up and operating in 2024. It would take up lower than 1% of the lake, leaving loads of room for different makes use of.

Who’s Afraid Of The ESG?

Republican workplace holders within the US proceed to spout off in opposition to ESG (setting, social, governance) investing, however the good cash is on jumpstarting the vitality transition. Each LEAG and ESS have signed up with the Power Resilience Management Group, a venture masterminded by Breakthrough Power and Siemens Power that launched earlier this yr (extra Breakthrough protection is right here).

Within the context of Russia’s murderous rampage by way of Ukraine, the Group goals to scale up new vitality applied sciences in Europe as shortly as attainable. Amongst their first initiatives is the accelerating LEAG’s “Inexperienced Powerhouse” timetable for renewable vitality, vitality storage, and inexperienced hydrogen.

Discover me on Spoutible: @TinaMCasey or LinkedIn @TinaMCasey or Mastodon @Casey or Submit: @tinamcasey

Picture: ESS modular, containerized iron movement batteries for renewable vitality storage (courtesy of ESS).


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