Hydrogen is used in many applications worldwide. Producing it in a clean and green way, has always been challenging, until now.
ITM Power has developed a rapid response, high pressure electrolyser product platform that is scalable from 0.5 to 100MW applications, converting surplus renewable energy via the splitting of water into its components hydrogen and oxygen. This enables the opportunity to decarbonise across industrial sectors, the green hydrogen being applicable to transport, chemicals, steel, plastic, as well as power, heat and fertilizer applications.
The use of electrolysis for energy storage is known as Power-to-Gas and it can increase significantly the flexibility of the electrical network that will necessarily be needed to integrate a large level of renewables power sources into the energy system. Hydrogen generation appears as one of the best approaches to provide massive storage of electricity for periods of several days to long-term seasonal storage.
Dr. Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, commented, “Renewable energy supplies are regularly turned off when they exceed demand, it’s called ‘curtailment’. But ITM Power’s systems can harness and fully utilise this surplus renewable energy to create hydrogen.”
“This can be done anywhere there is an electricity and water supply, eliminating the need for deliveries by road and using electricity at times when the price is lowest.”
In Germany, the Thüga Group and RWE WestNet are using ITM Power electrolysers as a direct transducer between the power and gas networks in Germany. The hydrogen generated is injected into the gas network, blending with natural gas and reducing the carbon footprint of everything downstream. In the UK, ITM Power is also working together with Northern Gas Networks and National Grid to pilot Power-to-Gas at Keele.
The use of electrolysis for the on-site generation of hydrogen fuel carries all of the benefits of Power-to-Gas, as well as supporting roll-out of sustainable hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. The European Commission has identified hydrogen-fuelled fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as one of the technologies required for Europe to meet its ambitious energy security objectives while eliminating air pollution and delivering a minimum 60% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport by 2050.
The new UK Government Air Quality Plan that bans all new non-zero emission passenger cars by 2040 represents an historic first step towards cleaner and greener transport in the UK, one in which hydrogen will play a large part of. Hydrogen as a fuel for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) cars, buses, trains and ferries is, therefore, a very attractive offering. FCEV cars are able to refuel in three minutes, offer a 320-mile range, and the only emission is water vapour; a no-compromise solution for clean emission transportation, in the quest to urgently address air quality.
ITM Power currently has four publically available hydrogen stations in the UK, and one in California. This will rise to 10 stations in the UK by the end of next year. It is an attractive solution to fuel providers as the hydrogen can be made in a very green way, using excess renewables and water, generating on site, which eliminates the requirement for fuel deliveries.
The electrolyser technology has now been deployed in both Power-to-Gas and Clean Fuel applications and ITM Power technology can be scaled to 100MW. The electrolyser’s benefits from ITM Power’s Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology and system design philosophy. As such, the product platform offers numerous advantages compared to existing state-of-the-art:
Small footprint – Being the most compact electrolyser offering, challenges with siting the equipment are minimised. System footprint is important when introducing ITM Power electrolysers on fuel forecourts. Likewise, high power installations can be deployed without a requirement for excess space.
High system efficiency – With the highest recorded electrolyser system efficiency recorded, the cost of hydrogen generation is lower than incumbent technologies.
Ultra rapid response – Qualification for electricity grid balancing services enables the equipment to assist with maintaining frequency on the power network while users of the equipment to benefit from availability payments, making a positive impact on the total cost of ownership (TCO).
Modularity – Ability to provide an expandable system so that deployment can be phased allows end-users to expand capacity in step with demand, avoiding under-utilised plants.
High-pressure – Self-pressurisation reduces or eliminates the need for post-compression.