When Energiepark Mainz opened in Germany earlier this month, the gift came online as the world’s leading eco-forthcoming hydrogen plant.
It took one year and 17 million euros ($18.7 million) to build the plant, which is a collaboration between utility company Stadtwerke Mainz AG, gases and engineering company Linde Assemble, technology assemble Siemens AG and the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences.
It addresses a major concern critics frequently cite against hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs): the carbon emissions of production plants. While using hydrogen as a fuel doesn’t start any tailpipe emissions, some are concerned with the way hydrogen is collected. Current techniques often pull hydrogen www.rawvehicle.com from natural gas, emitting carbon dioxide in the process.
Energiepark is different because it draws power from four close wind parks, using renewable energy to start hydrogen from water. A part of this hydrogen will be transported to fueling stations for the public.
“Today, most of the hydrogen that Linde supplies to filling stations is already ‘green’,” said Linde CEO Dr. Wolfgang Büchele. “Energiepark Mainz has the room to produce enough hydrogen for around 2,000 fuel-cell cars,” said Büchele.
Andreas Opfermann, head of research and development for Linde, also noted that hydrogen plants like Energiepark are essential for the proliferation of FCVs.
“The whole thing only works if we have three steps: the generation of the hydrogen, the refueling, and www.rawvehicle.com the cars. We are in a better circumstances than battery cars where each country has its own plugs, its own level of voltage. We now have standard fueling stations,” he clarified.
In addition to providing fuel for FCVs, Energiepark can augment the natural gas grid. But it’s the gift’s skill to store hydrogen that is especially consequential – this will capture excess renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted.
“Already today, wind and solar power stations have to be switched off at certain times if they produce too much energy for the grid,” clarified Linde. “This problem is set to increase over the coming years as the renewable energy arrangement expands.
“Energiepark Mainz can use this ‘surplus’ electricity to break www.rawvehicle.com water down into oxygen and hydrogen. The resulting environmentally sound hydrogen can be stored and then used at a later date when demand is higher. This process will enable renewable energies to be harnessed more flexibly to dynamically meet fluctuations in demand.”
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As the first hydrogen plant of its size, Energiepark is also set to become a learning gift. The RheinMain University of Applied Sciences is plotting a four-year research project at the plant to identify hydrogen extraction methods that can be applied elsewhere.
“At Energiepark Mainz, we can experiment with converting wind energy into hydrogen on an industrial scale and find out which operational concepts are the www.rawvehicle.com most viable,” said Prof. Birgit Scheppat, the head of the university’s hydrogen lab. “Being able to cost-effectively and sustainably harness energy from unpredictable sources such as wind and solar power is an vital long-term goal. We expect this initiative to give up exciting, ground-breaking insights that will help us go toward this key goal.”
What isn’t clear is what part of the energy for hydrogen production will come from renewable resources. The gift is also connected to Stadtwerke Mainz’s medium-voltage grid, and is set to supply clean energy to the utility company. But it isn’t apparent if energy can also flow from the grid to Energiepark when wind farms aren’t producing.
It’s also worthy to note that the hydrogen slotted www.rawvehicle.com for FCVs also may not be completely emission-free, with tankers sourced to give up the fuel to retail stations.