In the future our energy supply will have to be renewable, but also reliable and affordable. In Nieuwegein we will be making a contribution to meeting this challenge through the realisation of a unique project: Power to X. The starting point is a solar park which makes it possible to use the sun and rain to produce electricity, hydrogen, heat and ultra-pure water in a renewable manner.
Sun and rain as basis for the energy system
Next to the KWR building, on the site of the Watertransportmaatschappij Rijn-Kennemerland (WRK), an 8.7 MWp solar energy park is being set up in 2017-18. The park’s solar panels will supply renewable electricity and also capture rainwater. The idea is not only to transfer this electricity to the network, but also to convert it into other energy carriers, such as heat and hydrogen (the ‘X’ in ‘Power to X’). In this way, energy supply and demand can be better matched, so that in a future, with ample solar and wind energy, a reliable energy provision can be realised. By smartly converting and storing the electricity produced by the sun, we can save on costs – there would be no need for instance to reinforce the power network.
System design and modelling
The activities within the project focus on modelling, dimensioning and, ultimately, designing separate subsystems for electricity, hydrogen, heat and ultra-pure water (e.g., for hydrogen production). An added key element is the market development for hydrogen and heat.
Hydrogen can be supplied to fuel-cell busses and other vehicles by developing a filling station. Water can be heated to high temperatures (40-60˚C) using the surplus electricity in the summer and then stored in the subsurface, for subsequent use in the winter to heat homes and buildings. The rainwater collected in the solar panels can be combined with that collected on the roofs of houses and be stored in the subsurface for the production of ultra-pure water. The electricity system is also being studied to see whether it would be possible to install a DC (direct current) network, with a view to cutting efficiency losses between the different system components.
Work will then be done on the integration of the different subsystems into a single model, which can be optimised economically and ultimately lead to an implementable design.
Nieuwegein showcase and extension of Power to X concepts
The research will produce an integrated system design specific to the situation at the WRK site in Nieuwegein. The research results should serve as input for the realisation of the system in a next phase of the project. They will be used to build a showcase for the Power to X concept. In addition, the dynamic system model developed can be used to analyse other Power to X system concepts, and to design projects at other sites and with different requirements.