Gas distribution firm Northern Gas Networks has partnered with clean fuel company, ITM, to study the feasibility of large-scale energy storage by taking excess electricity, converting it to hydrogen and storing it within the gas distribution network.
The companies believe it could potentially crack the problem of large-scale seasonal energy storage while solving the issue that too much power from intermittent sources can pose for power network operators.
The gas network has the capacity to store energy indefinitely and power-to-gas has the potential to store megawatts to gigawatts for durations that can extend from hours to many months, according to Northern Gas Networks (NGN).
The firms’ feasibility study will focus on deployments capable of operating cost-effectively from 50MWh energy storage capacity upwards within the boundaries of the NGN gas distribution network.
“The whole systems approach and power-to-gas technology are incredibly exciting prospects for the UK’s future energy mix and we’re delighted to be a partner in this pioneering project, part of which will take place at our whole systems facility near Gateshead,” said Mark Horsley, CEO of Northern Gas Networks.
“As renewable power generation increases, effective storage and transmission of surplus power will become ever more important. Instead of being lost, this surplus power has the potential to be turned into alternative green fuels such as hydrogen, and stored in the gas network for later use in transport, heat or generation.”
ITM Power CEO, Graham Cooley, said the firm was “delighted” to partner with Northern Gas Networks on the study.
“The principle of the gas grid being used as a renewable energy store is a compelling idea for the gas industry,” he added.