Gasunie converts sustainable energy into hydrogen with first 1 MW Power-to-gas installation in the Netherlands

Groningen | press release
  • Gasunie invests in power-to-gas installation to spark market for hydrogen;
  • Gasunie subsidiaries EnergyStock and New Energy aim to convert sustainable  electricity into hydrogen for mobility and industry;
  • First power-to-gas installation of 1 Megawatt in the Netherlands, to be completed in September 2018;
  • Underground Gas Storage Zuidwending ideal location thanks to buffer capacity and connection with main infrastructure for gas and electricity;
  • Pilot project HyStock important step in scaling up power-to-gas technology.

Groningen, 29-06-2017Gasunie has announced that it will invest in a power-to-gas installation at the site of the gas storage location near Zuidwending in the Dutch province of Groningen. Gasunie subsidiaries EnergyStock and New Energy aim to convert sustainable electricity into hydrogen at its Underground Gas Storage Zuidwending using approximately 5,000 solar panels. In addition, sustainable energy will be delivered to the project from Tennet’s high-voltage electricity grid. This pilot project (HyStock) will be the first power-to-gas facility in the Netherlands with a capacity of 1 Megawatt. The location is ideal because it offers the opportunity of future large-scale storage of hydrogen in salt caverns made suitable for gas storage. Through HyStock, the Gasunie subsidiaries aim to contribute, together with market parties, to the further development of the hydrogen market and apply new technologies on a larger scale.

Hydrogen as energy carrier

EnergyStock and Gasunie New Energy are envisioning that the natural gas buffer at Zuidwending (in the province of Groningen) will be able to play an important role in ensuring a sustainable energy supply. “Storing sustainable electricity in large quantities is difficult,” says Henk Abbing, Director of EnergyStock. “An affordable battery that would be capable of doing this reliably on a large scale has yet to be invented. Hydrogen could offer a solution here, as sustainable energy in the form of hydrogen can be stored. Together with oxygen, hydrogen is the main component in water. You can separate these two components quite easily using sustainable power.” Gasunie New Energy see the conversion of power-to-gas as a promising technology in which gas infrastructure can play a connecting role. In the future, hydrogen will be an important clean fuel in a sustainable energy supply. Hydrogen can be used for mobility and transport for instance, as well as for industrial applications and electricity supply. With the HyStock pilot, EnergyStock and Gasunie New Energy aim to contribute to the further development of the market for green hydrogen.

From energy management to energy transition

As owner of the natural gas buffer, EnergyStock is implementing an energy management programme, with the aim of reducing its energy consumption and becoming more sustainable. One of the measures in the programme is to place solar panels on its site. “We then came up with the idea of using a part of the remaining space for a power-to-gas installation,” says Abbing. “In the Netherlands, there are only a few initiatives that focus on converting green power into hydrogen. Our country is lagging behind in this regard compared to, say, Germany, which has a higher share of wind and solar power in its energy mix. In the Netherlands, too, the share of renewable energy is growing. That’s why we aim to gain experience in using this technology and its future potential and figure out the technological challenges. The ambition of the North Netherlands region is to become a hydrogen economy. We have wind parks at sea, solar panels on land, and we are connected to the electricity grid in Scandinavia and Germany via intercontinental cables. Power-to-gas can play an important part in properly balancing the grid on a continuous basis. EnergyStock has storage space, we’re connected to the high-voltage electricity grid and the main gas transport grid, we have knowledge about storage, and we wish to take our responsibility seriously in contributing to the energy transition. Together with Gasunie New Energy, we aim to ensure that all valuable sustainable energy can be used and will not be lost.”

Power-to-gas installation

The solar panels will be placed on the earthen embankments around the installation. In addition, the parking areas of the installation will be covered by a solar roof. One megawatt of the power generated will be converted into hydrogen. For this purpose, three containers will be placed within the gates of the installation: one contains the electrolysis unit, the second the necessary electronics, and the third a compressor that fills the storage cylinders with hydrogen. The storage cylinders are mobile and can be transported to end-users (mobility and industry). In April, local residents were first informed about these plans.

For more information, visit https://www.agbzw.nl/waterstofproject (only available in Dutch).

This project is co-financed by the European Committee.

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