German partnership to develop 100kw power-to-gas electrolyser

16 maart 2016

Researchers and engineers have launched a power-to-gas project to investigate ways of transferring cost-saving technologies from the automotive technology to hydrogen production.

Through the ‘ecoPtG’ project researchers plan to develop a cost-effective alkaline water electrolyser with an output of 100 kilowatts that could lead to higher mileage-per-charge EVs; the Nissan LEAF, for instance, has a 24kw/h 90kW battery.

Until now, high investment costs have been a barrier to market entry, especially in the case of smaller electrolysers.

The project aims to discover if CO2-neutral hydrogen can be produced using simplified production processes and affordable materials, such as plastics.

The ‘ecoPtG’ project involves UK engineering partner IAV, the Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), the Reiner Lemoine Institut and Wasserelektrolyse Hydrotechnik (HT).

“Hydrogen is a key option in terms of future sustainable mobility and the success of the energy transition. The ZSW has thus been researching, constructing and operating electrolysis plants in megawatt dimensions for many years,” said Dr Michael Specht, head of ZSW’s renewable fuels and processes research department.

“In the context of the ‘ecoPtG’ project, we now aim to make this environmentally compatible technology more cost effective.”

There are currently three methods in use for power-to-gas: all use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by means of electrolysis.

The partnership aims to develop an ESS that could harness renewable sources, which needs storage to help provide grid frequency regulation.

The partnership also believes hydrogen produced according to the power-to-gas method could play a key role in de-carbonising the transport sector (changing from fossil to renewable energy sources).

Based on a resolution of the German Parliament, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is providing a total of EUR 4.75 million in subsidies for the ‘ecoPtG’ project.