Pillars of Progress: Power – Farewell to fossils

The deployment of intermittent energy sources, like wind and solar, requires a system for balancing supply and demand. For regions that are not part of a larger energy system, this can be particularly problematic. The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) is demonstrating how flexible hydrogen technologies can offer an environmentally friendly solution.

Many remote regions cannot be adequately integrated into a larger energy grid and must use alternative systems for energy storage and distribution. This means that those using renewables often rely on fossil-fuel generators to balance supply and demand. Producing hydrogen is a cleaner alternative for storing excess energy.

Two major projects are exploring and demonstrating this route. In the remote region of Varanger, Norway, the FCH JU-funded Haeolus project is creating a new-generation electrolyser for installation inside the fence of a wind farm experiencing grid bottlenecks. A 2MW electrolyser has been installed, based on PEM technology, and is integrated with the wind farm, hydrogen storage and a smaller fuel cell for re-electrification.

To maximise relevance to wind farms across the EU and the world, the plant will be operated in multiple emulated configurations (energy storage, mini-grid, fuel production).

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