project

H-Flex: green hydrogen in a flexible electricity system

Expert(s):
Els van der Roest MSc, Dirk Vries PhD MSc, Prof. Ad van Wijk PhD

  • Start date
    01 Mar 2020
  • End date
    28 Feb 2024
  • collaborating partners
    Hysolar

The conversion of (surplus) electricity into hydrogen and heat contributes to a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system. This has been demonstrated in earlier projects, such as Power-to-X. Now that the solar park has been set up, the next step towards the Power-to-X-system is the development and realisation of the storage and conversion of sustainable electricity into hydrogen. This is being carried out within the H-Flex project. The ultimate objective is to make a concrete contribution to the energy transition.

The H-Flex project collaboration partners are Hysolar and KWR. Hysolar is realising a 2MW electrolyser, while KWR research is contributing to maximising the flexibility and efficiency of the installation.

Contributing to a flexible energy system

In Nieuwegein a 9.3 MWp solar panel park was set up in 2018-2019, and a local Power-to-X-system is being developed around it. If the solar panels produce a surplus of electricity, part of it (‘Power’) can be converted into other products (‘to X’). Earlier projects demonstrated that the conversion of (surplus) electricity into hydrogen and heat contributes to a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system. A next step involves the development and realisation of the storage and conversion of sustainable electricity into hydrogen. This is taking place within the H-Flex project.

Due to the increased role of sustainable electricity in the energy system, there is a growing need for a more flexible response capability to capture the peaks of electricity production and for the creation of storage options. H-Flex aims to research how an electrolyser can contribute to increasing the flexibility of the energy system.

Hysolar-KWR collaboration

The H-Flex project involves the collaboration of two partners: Hysolar and KWR. Hysolar is focussing on the realisation of a 2MW electrolyser installation and a filling station in Nieuwegein. KWR is investigating several aspects of the realisation and operation of the electrolyser within the Power-to-X concept. This encompasses the following activities:

  1. Monitoring the functioning of the hydrogen production in practice, for the validation of models and the description of the lessons learned for future hydrogen projects.
  2.  Elaboration of possibilities for the use of residual heat from the electrolyser.
  3. Research into the integration with storage systems, such as a battery, so that more green electricity is made available for the electrolyser, and possibly also for the neighbouring KWR building.
  4. Smart operation of the electrolyser to maximise its flexible use, producing as much green electricity as possible and hydrogen at the lowest possible price.

With this knowledge H-Flex enhances the potential of the electrolyser in Nieuwegein, while also developing knowledge that can be applied elsewhere.

250 tonnes green hydrogen per year

The delivery of the targeted annual production of 250 tonnes of green hydrogen will take place at the hydrogen filling station at the Morsebaan 1, in Nieuwegein (completion date: April 2021). The filling station is to be open to both public and private users. This means that passenger cars, trucks, busses, tractors and other vehicles powered by hydrogen can use it to fill up. Delivery to ships by means of containers is also being studied.

Sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system

By linking electricity and transport, we can advance towards a more integrated and flexible energy system. Moreover, the research results can promote the smarter operation of the electrolyser, and thereby reduce the load on the power grid. Whenever desired, upward and even downward adjustments can be made, and the resulting benefits can contribute to improving the business case for hydrogen production. The use of residual heat from the electrolyser can increase the efficiency of the installation by 10-15%. In addition, the integration with an extra storage system can lead to additional flexibility, and moreover mean that the electrolyser uses a higher percentage of green electricity. Ultimately, the H-Flex project will bring a sustainable, reliable and affordable energy system one step closer.

Impression of the Hysolar hydrogen filling station (source: Hysolar).

 

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Explanation of the H-Flex project from research and practice perspectives.