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Nederlandse Gasunie to invest in first 1 MW power-to-gas installation

The Dutch gas distribution company Nederlandse Gasunie N.V. has announced that it will invest in a power-to-gas (PtG) installation together with Natuurgasbuffer Zuidwending at the gas storage site near Zuidwending in the province of Groningen. Via its subsidiaries, EnergyStock and Gasunie New Energy renewable electricity will be used to produce green hydrogen through electrolysis. The EU co-financed pilot project will be the first PtG facility in the Netherlands with a capacity of 1 MW.

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According to a statement, the pilot project “HyStock” will be the first power-to-gas facility in the Netherlands with a capacity of 1 MW. The location is ideal because it offers the possibility to store hydrogen on a large scale in the salt caverns specially adapted for gas storage. The project is estimated to be completed in September 2018.

Sustainable electricity is difficult to store in large quantities. No affordable battery has yet been invented that is reliable. You can do that with hydrogen. You can store renewable energy in the form of hydrogen. It is together with oxygen the main component of water. You can easily separate them using sustainable electricity, said Henk Abbing, Director of EnergyStock.

According to Abbing, Gasunie New Energy sees power-to-gas as a promising technology in which gas infrastructure can play a connecting role. Hydrogen will become an important clean fuel in a sustainable energy supply in the future. Hydrogen can be used for, among other things, mobility/transport, industry and electricity supply. EnergyStock and Gasunie New Energy, together with market parties, want to contribute to the development of the hydrogen market.

From energy management to energy transition

As the owner of the fossil gas buffer, EnergyStock conducts an energy management programme with which it wants to reduce and transition its energy consumption. One of the measures is the installation of solar panels on the premises.

The idea arose to use part of the remaining space for a power-to-gas installation. There are only a few initiatives in the Netherlands where green electricity is converted into hydrogen. The Netherlands is lagging behind, for example, in Germany, which has a higher share of wind and solar power in the energy mix. The share of renewable energy is also increasing in the Netherlands. That is why we want to gain experience with this technology and identify the future potential and the technological challenges said Abbing.

Power-to-gas installation

Around 5 000 solar panels will be placed on the embankments surrounding the installation and the parking lots places are also equipped with a sunroof. One megawatt of the generated power will be converted into hydrogen. In addition, renewable energy is supplied to the project from the high-voltage electricity grid of Tennet.

Three containers are placed inside the fences of the installation: one contains the electrolysis unit, the second the electronics required and the third a compressor, which then fills the storage cylinders with hydrogen. The storage cylinders are mobile and can be transported to customers in mobility and industry.

The Northern Netherlands has the ambition to become a hydrogen economy. We have wind farms at sea, solar energy on land, we are connected to the electricity network in Scandinavia and Germany via intercontinental cables. To be able to continue to balance the net, power-to-gas can play an important role. EnergyStock has storage space, we are connected to the high-voltage electricity grid and main gas transport network, we have knowledge of storage and want to take our responsibility to make a good contribution to the energy transition. Together with Gasunie New Energy we want to ensure that all precious renewable energy is used and that no sustainable energy is lost, said Henk Abbing.

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