UK funds 100MW Power-to-Gas energy storage project; Project Centurion
30 September 2018
ITM Power announced funding from Innovate UK for a feasibility study to deploy a 100MW Power-to-Gas (P2G) energy storage project, “Project Centurion” at Runcorn, Cheshire, UK. This project explores the electrolytic production, pipeline transmission, salt cavern storage and gas grid injection of green hydrogen at an industrial scale. The feasibility study will explore the system design and costs and will assess the business case for deployment.
The vision for Project Centurion is to demonstrate a 100MW P2G energy storage system which can produce low carbon hydrogen for heat, decarbonization of industry, and transport fuel.
Once successfully demonstrated, such systems can make a significant contribution to the decarbonization of the electricity and gas networks, and by coupling these two networks together provide energy storage, allowing the UK energy system to accommodate increasing amounts of renewable energy, reducing curtailment and constraints.
As well as contributing to decarbonization, P2G systems can improve security of energy supply and improve the UK balance of payments by producing indigenous fuel offsetting the need to import fuel.
Project partners ITM Power, INOVYN, Storengy, Cadent and Element Energy wish to explore the feasibility of siting a 100MW Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyzer at the INOVYN Runcorn Site, which already produces hydrogen (used mainly on-site) as a co-product of the chlor-alkali process.
This site has an existing 420MW supergrid connection, power electronics and planning consent for industrial scale hydrogen production. The transport of hydrogen by pipeline to salt caverns near Lostock, where it can be stored pure or blended with natural gas, will be explored, along with the feasibility of injection into the local gas network. Other potential demands for the hydrogen will be assessed, including industrial and transport use which will support existing studies in the area, particularly Cadent’s HyNet NW.
The feasibility study is being supported by Innovate UK and the partners. It’s objectives are: to produce a 100MW system design with costs significantly below current targets; to build the consensus on P2G systems as an important part of a decarbonized energy system; and to produce the evidence base for raising financing for the project. The feasibility study outputs will be a 100MW system design, a business case and delivery plan for Project Centurion with a clear description of the next steps, and a dissemination campaign to increase understanding of, and interest in, P2G systems at a large scale.
Once built, Project Centurion will mark the first-time a P2G system injects hydrogen into the public gas network in the UK at scale. It will be the first time the electricity and gas system would be coupled in the UK to provide energy storage for excess electricity; and it will be the largest water to hydrogen electrolyzer system in the world (based on current deployments).
Existing projects such as HyDeploy make use of a private, isolated gas network, which is not possible at this scale. Project Centurion will build upon the work done in HyDeploy and the proposed HyDeploy 2 which if funded by Ofgem will develop the evidence base for transporting blended hydrogen through trials on two public gas networks on the North West and North East of England. The project will also develop a full deployment plan for hydrogen blending on the gas network.
The natural gas system can tolerate about 2% hydrogen by volume (about 0.7% by energy). In other words, this is no solution; it cannot scale. Where is the feasibility study for an actual solution?
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 30 September 2018 at 04:49 AM
Producing hydrogen or ammonia as longer term storage of renewable electricity is a great idea, but I see decentralized reversible SOFC as the way to go because:
- higher blends of carbon free fuel can be used, avoiding the limitations of the natural gas network.
- byproduct heat can be stored and used (for heating, cooling, hot water and dehumidification).
- hydrogen can be delivered to urban FCEVs.
Posted by: MJ Grieve / AHEAD Energy 501c3 | 30 September 2018 at 06:14 AM
If they actually have excess wind energy( and maybe they do or maybe they do not), a much better solution would be pumped storage hydro as the round trip efficiency 80%. Also, England certainly has hills and water.
Posted by: sd | 30 September 2018 at 11:05 AM
Calculate the amount of water involved and the available land for PHS, sd. You'll find that it's totally impractical to do at scale. I did the numbers for the USA and found that the entire water volume of Lake Erie would only suffice to store a couple weeks worth of electric power for the USA. Seasonal variations come to a lot more than that.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 30 September 2018 at 12:23 PM
I would not try to store enough energy to power the entire US for several weeks -- only enough to store excess energy for maybe 10 hours. The proposed electrolysis project was only 100 MW. The Bath County (Virginia) pumped storage has a max output of about 3000 MW with about 10 hours of storage. However, they have a rather high hydraulic head at 385 m (1262 ft) to work with. This was built to level out demand for nuclear power so the nuclear facility could run at full power off peak. The Niagara Power Project stores water during night hours so more water can run over the falls during the day. They pump water into a reservoir and then release it thru the pump turbines to generate 240 MW before sending thru the main turbines. This was built on flat land so the head is probably only about 20 m. I worked on this project when I was 17 (1960) but in the switch yard not the pumped storage facility.
Anyway, I would recommend pumped storage instead of electrolysis for energy storage or leveling. If you already have hydro power as is the case along the Columbia River, all you need is cut back on the water release if you have excess wind energy. If you want to make hydrogen for industrial purposes, maybe that makes sense but not for energy storage.
Posted by: sd | 01 October 2018 at 06:48 AM
So what's the purpose of your storage scheme? To allow thermal power plants time to start up? It can't be to go all-RE. Wind can take breaks lasting literally weeks, cloudy winter weather is the norm in the midwest, and of course the short winter hours of sunlight mean massive season-length deficits in solar starting around 35° from the equator.
That's if you can cut back. Hydro reservoirs are far from infinite. During the spring melt, lots of hydro dams have to run at 100% power to avoid running water down their spillways (which supercharges the water with nitrogen which can kill fish downstream).
The windiest season in the PNW is the spring melt season. Wind power just makes the time-shifting problem worse.
PHS is more efficient but requires vastly more mass and volume. One liter of water pumped up 385 meters stores 3.77 kJ. One liter of H2 gas at 100 bar is roughly 8.9 grams, or about 1.1 MJ heat of combustion. There's no comparison. (If you can store the energy as methanol you get 17.9 MJ/liter.)
The whole point of the hypedrogen economy is that it's at least plausible to store enough energy to even out all the seasonal peaks and valleys in the yield of "renewables" and run a real economy on them. It's almost certainly not actually possible because of all the energy you'd have to invest in infrastructure, but the plausibility is there. And it's the plausibility which allows advocacy against the only real non-emitting source of 24/7 energy out there: nuclear.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 01 October 2018 at 12:25 PM
I am not arguing for wind or solar. I would far rather have the new nuclear plants as they are far more reliable and take up little little space. If you want roof top solar, OK to an extent. I consider wind turbines a blight on the landscape. I was arguing against going with hydrogen as a storage mechanism as the efficiency is relatively low and it is hard to store or transport. Maybe, you can use hydrogen for direct reduction of iron oxide to iron and of course it is used in making hydrocarbon fuels.
Posted by: sd | 01 October 2018 at 02:20 PM
My point, SD, is that a flat 10 hours of storage doesn't particularly make sense regardless of what you're doing. It's way too much for grid regulation and way too little for buffering massive amounts of renewables; it's the anti-Goldilocks spot, "just wrong".
I live not far from one good-sized PHS system. It's been in operation since the 70's. The state hasn't built another one since.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 01 October 2018 at 03:12 PM
Good. Now we are motoring!
Power to Gas (P2G) is best for (solar, wind etc.) farm-scale energy storage for most farms where there is no possibility of farm-scale pumped hydro.
P2G is excellent for mopping up all the surplus farm power because any energy which P2G can store is an efficiency gain compared to the 100% loss of all curtailed generation.
Grid managers should cease paying curtailment payments and spend the same money more wisely offering incentives to farm operators to install farm-scale energy storage.
P2G is not as efficient as pumped hydro so the primary grid-scale energy storage will be pumped hydro, reverting to secondary grid P2G when all the hydroelectric reservoirs have been topped up.
Independent Scientific Adviser for Scotland
* Wind, storage and back-up system designer
* Double Tidal Lagoon Baseload Scheme
* Off-Shore Electricity from Wind, Solar and Hydrogen Power
* World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?
* Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power
* Scotland Electricity Generation – my plan for 2020
* South America – GREAT for Renewable Energy
Posted by: Scottish Scientist | 06 October 2018 at 12:23 PM
I haven't seen anyone make the case for this. P2G usually generates a low-value product (mixed with natural gas and burned along with it) which should be valued at the cost of the energy it displaces. It does this at a rather high capital cost (high per average kW due to low capacity factor) and far from stellar efficiency.
It can, but does that make it excellent? It excells compared to what? Simply not generating surpluses very much or often gets rid of most spilled power too, and also the capital and operating cost of generating it. What's the goal here?
I get the feeling that the goalposts for these efforts have been set where they make no sense. If the marginal kWh of wind power put into P2G only prevents 100 g of CO2 emissions, that is almost certainly an economic failure as there are likely much cheaper ways of eliminating a marginal 100 gCO2. At a nominal 43 kWh/kgH2, that marginal 1 kWh of electricity into P2G replaces just over 50 gCH4 and eliminates just 139 gCO2... and that's assuming it's used where its HHV is important; if used for LHV it displaces just 126 grams. Using surplus electricity for heat directly eliminates the conversion losses and also a lot (maybe almost all) of the capital costs.
What IS the goal you're aiming for? Is it even close to the right one?
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 06 October 2018 at 06:00 PM