German Energy Group E. ON has decided to take the extra energy created by local wind turbines, use it to electrolyze water into hydrogen and oxygen and store that hydrogen into the country’s current natural gas pipeline system. E. ON expects to be able to store between 5 – 15 percent hydrogen within the pipeline without any problems.
Since wind energy is an intermittent power source, it is wise to store the extra energy created when the wind is blowing hard and use this stored up energy when hardly any wind is blowing at all. And by using hydrogen as the storage method, no major supporting infrastructure needs to be built.
Now, once the hydrogen is inside the natural gas pipelines there are several options as to what can be done with the H2 gas blend. The first option is to send this blend to the natural gas fired power plants to help them create electricity more cleanly than ever before and put this electricity back on the grid.
The second option is to send the hydrogen gas blend to homes for cleaner burning in one’s home heating systems, water heaters and gas stoves. On the transportation side, India for the past few years has been developing vehicles than run on hydrogen-natural gas blends inside common CNG vehicles.
If this option were to be taken then the hydrogen and natural gas blend could be piped to the current CNG stations for use in CNG vehicles. Or the hydrogen – CNG blend that is pumped for home use not only could be used to heat the home and for cooking but one could tap into this source and use the hydrogen and natural gas blend in their CNG cars.
Of course another option is to use the pipeline as a carrier for hydrogen and extract the hydrogen from the CNG and use it at the pump for H2 powered cars. The same could be done for homeowners who want their own home hydrogen fueling stations in their garages.
So you see, just getting the renewable hydrogen gas into the natural gas pipelines has many options and benefits. One has to wonder, why didn’t we think of this sooner?