Can we include balancing services in electrolysis plants?
We did not know – now we do!
Yes, we can and it is not only good business, it’s also a core component in accelerating the green transition. Very crucial barriers were removed and topics demystified as five experts from Energinet and six experts from various departments in Danfoss joined forces to investigate how to develop an electrolyzer that, besides producing hydrogen, also ensures that the public utility can balance the grid. The balancing is becoming an increasingly important topic to discuss as more and more energy is produced only when the sun shines and the wind blows.
What is electrolysis?
Green electrolyzers use renewable energy sources to split water, H2O, into H2 and O2. The hydrogen is compressed and can be used directly as decarbonized fuel for heavy transport and industry or converted to chemicals and e-fuels like ammonia, methanol, or e-jet fuels.
In a true collaborative environment, the one-week workshop was very valuable for both companies.
“We had a hunch that something was there. Now we know exactly what is there and how to go about it. We have also eliminated a lot of chases down rabbit holes, which you inevitably fall into, when in unchartered territory. By combining our expertise, we have been able to fast forward to the true potential and how to get there”, says Kristina Hansen Hadberg, Energinet and Helge Vandel Jensen from Danfoss Drives more or less simultaneously. No doubt the week has been a great experience for both parties.
Uncovering a huge potential for balancing functionalities
“Without this workshop, the information obtained on the balancing requirements would otherwise have been very difficult to dig out. This true understanding of what is required from us to support the grid means that we are now much further in the process. This was a true sprint!” says Helge Vandel Jensen from Danfoss Drives. “We have in fact uncovered an until now huge unknown potential for balancing functionalities”.
Future electrolyzers to accelerate the green transition securely and cost-effectively
“Together, this week we have accelerated a key component in balancing our future grid running solely on green energy. To Energinet, this is highly valuable, as this will accelerate the green transition in a secure and cost-effective manner for society. Besides, we have gained huge knowledge on what to actually expect from future electrolyzers connected to the grid providing balancing services,” says Kristina Hansen Hadberg, Energinet.
What is electrolysis and how does it fit into the energy transition puzzle?
Green electrolyzers use renewable energy sources to split water, H2O, into H2 and O2. The hydrogen is compressed and can be used directly as decarbonized fuel for heavy transport and industry or converted to chemicals and e-fuels like ammonia, methanol, or e-jet fuels. Thereby acting as a “storage” for excess renewable energy and contributing to the green economy by enabling us to transition some of the processes that are not feasible to electrify directly.
The electrolysis process requires large amounts of DC energy. For that, we use power converters. They take AC power from the grid and convert it to the needed voltage and current levels. The key question is then, can we enable the electrolyzer to support the grid and not only be a consumer?
The answer is yes. The drives have the potential to provide the grid balancing services by adjusting the power up and down as needed, and at the required speed of reaction.
This uncovers a huge potential as these balancing services are hugely important for the stability of the grid. So, the electrolyzers now have the potential to become a dual-purpose piece in the energy transition puzzle. Enabling the uptake in renewables by delivering the required support for the stability of the grid, while making it possible for us to turn processes that were previously considered beyond reach, such as jet-fuels, green.
That’s pretty good for one week’s work!
Check out the video that was developed during the collaboration between Energinet and Danfoss