RWE has officially in Germany its power-to-gas plant in the NRW location of Ibbenbüren. (Earlier post.) Superfluous electricity from renewable sources is converted into hydrogen so it can be stored within the natural gas network. It can then be recalled from there at a later date for use in electricity production. RWE said it sees this power-to-gas process as one of the key technologies for tomorrow’s energy supply.
A central element of the power-to-gas plant is an electrolyzer the size of a shipping container, which was built by the UK firm, ITM Power. The electrolyzer converts any power from renewable sources such as solar panels or wind turbines that is not immediately required into hydrogen.
The hydrogen is then mixed into the natural gas network via a gas pressure regulation station where the waste heat of the electrolyzer is also utilized. In times of low renewable power production, the previously stored natural gas can be siphoned off from the storage facility and used in a co-generation plant within the RWE district heating network in Ibbenbüren to generate power.
The combined heat and power generation system used there also leads to much better power utilization. The power-to-gas plant of RWE in Ibbenbüren has a rated power output of 150 kilowatts and creates hydrogen under 14-bar pressure.