Hydrogen Energy Storage

The main components of a hydrogen energy storage system are an electrolyser, hydrogen storage and a fuel cell. The electrolyser uses energy in the form of electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be stored, commonly in gas cylinders. The fuel cell combines the stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate electric energy on demand, with water as a by product. As well these basic components, ancillary equipment such as water treatment, compression and power conversion are needed for the system to operate.

 Hydrogen energy storage can offer an effective solution for mitigating the variable power output associated with renewable power sources.  As the penetration of renewable power generation onto electricity networks increases, the need for a means to store energy increases. Hydrogen energy storage can provide a solution for long term energy storage on electricity networks. When used in combination with short term fast response storage such as battery storage, it can be suitable for a number of different applications encompassing a range of different storage timescales. In standalone systems, hydrogen can be generated during times of excess renewable power production, and utilised when demand for electricity exceeds that produced from the renewable source to ensure a constant supply of electricity.

 At the Baglan Hydrogen Centre, work is being undertaken to assess the operation of hydrogen storage systems under the variable conditions from renewable sources. Equipment installed at the Hydrogen Centre includes alkaline and PEM electrolysers, a PEM fuel cell, hydrogen storage cylinders and ancillary equipment.  The stored hydrogen can be also be used by a vehicle refuelling station located at the Baglan Hydrogen Centre. The operation of the system as a whole, as well the performance of electrolysers powered by solar PV and other renewable resources is being investigated.

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