Dutch transmission operator Enexis, natural gas infrastructure firm Gasunie and oil producer Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) are in discussions over plans to convert spare solar power into hydrogen.
The three firms said a feasibility study was being conducted for sites owned by NAM, a joint venture formed by Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil, in Emmen and Drenthe with the results expected in the middle of next month.
Enexis said: “The research is examining the conditions under which it is feasible to directly convert locally generated sustainable energy into hydrogen. And whether that energy can be transported via existing gas pipelines to customers so that this green energy still contributes to the energy transition.”
Enexis said Gasunie and NAM wanted to make the energy supply more sustainable by building a hydrogen hub at a former gas treatment terminal at Groningen’s natural gas fields.
“Options for the transport of hydrogen via existing or new gas lines to consumers in Emmen are also part of this study,” Enexis told the media.
The feasibility study assesses which large-scale solar and wind power projects have been denied grid connections. “In Drenthe this concerns various projects, some of which are close to existing NAM locations,” said Enexis.
The NAM Roswinkel installation on the German border is reportedly near several renewables projects facing grid-access issues.
The three firms are considering connecting an electrolyser with a 20 to 50 megawatt capacity to the grid or to solar and wind power producers using a “smart combination”.
Israel’s GenCell says it has developed an electric generator that uses hydrogen to generate clean power rather than diesel, using space-travel technology.
Most current generators run on diesel but GenCell’s new devise can reportedly provide power off-grid or where a backup power source is required.
The firm said after five years of research to maximise affordability and efficiency, GenCell introduced its G5 line of hydrogen gas-powered backup generators in 2016.
GenCell chief executive Rami Reshef estimated that the running cost of the G5 generators would by 30-50 per cent lower than a diesel generator.
The firm has a second fuel-cell option, the A5, which produces hydrogen from liquid ammonia and provides clean and cost-effective electricity off the electrical grid.
“We have systems running in Europe, Israel, the United States and Southeast Asia, and we’re marketing to Africa and South America,” Reshef told the media.
Station Wildervank at the Groningen natural gas field. Picture credit: Wikimedia