One day it was going to happen, and coincidentally or not, just a few hours after it became known that the Swedish company Northvolt manufactured the first battery with completely recycled cells from other batteries in disuse, hydrogen boosters break news as good as that. Now they are not Swedish, but danish, reinforcing the tendency of the Scandinavian countries to be pioneers in developing systems to obtain less polluting energy.
When last June, the Argentine physicist Juan Carlos Bolcich told Infobae “Let’s look at the sky, let’s bet on hydrogen”, I was right. The message that this Argentine scientist who is Vice President for Latin America of the International Association for Hydrogen Energy (IAHE), was that the hydrogen is the way to store energy from natural resources through electrolysis and store it to be able to transform it into electrical energy again when they are needed. For that, it is necessary to use the wind and the sun, that although they are intermittent, they are infinite, abundant and democratic. And so that the electrolysis does not generate pollution due to the use of the conventional electrical network, what has to be done is what happened in Denmark.
This project, located in Brande, Denmark, is powered by the Danish company Everfuel, and by Siemens Gamesa, the renewable energy company created in 2017 As a result of the merger, the companies Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica SA and Siemens Wind HoldCo SL.
It consists of a wind turbine of Siemens Gamesa of 3 MW, which produces clean electricity to power an electrolyzer of 400 kW, through which it is possible divide the two components of water: oxygen and hydrogen. In addition, once the hydrogen has been produced to transport to the network with which the industries, heavy transport or even light vehicles that have a fuel cell system, lto surplus energy is stored in batteries state-of-the-art so that feed the electrolyzers when there is no wind and thus more green hydrogen can be produced. AND If this installation were connected to the electricity grid, those same batteries could distribute that renewable electrical energy to the grid.
Thus, the combination of the wind turbine, the batteries and the electrolyzer, has the potential to enable the production of “green hydrogen” on an industrial scale and in a very short term. One of the great problems that has always been attributed to this way of generating sustainable electricity is its cost, and according to Siemens Gamesa, that equation is beginning to balance with these autonomous systems. They are called “island mode” because they do not need to be connected to any external energy source, and they work completely isolated, interacting with nature to create electricity and the process to transform it into hydrogen. The external connection is for energy output and not input.
The difference of this method applied by Everfuel and Siemens Gamesa with other similar ones, is that generally, for times when there is no wind, a connection to the electricity grid allowed the electrolyzers to continue generating the hydrogen, but that made it stop being green because it was using artificial resources. If you want to be isolated from external energy for the whole process, there are two paths to take: use batteries how are they doing in Denmark, or use the same hydrogen buffer that is generated in the plant, to sustain its own production.
Of course there is still many debates regarding these enormous wind harvesting machines, and the pollution that metallurgical industry you can generate just to make them. Every day, the dimensions of the wind power mills are older, with some practically having the size of a two room apartment, not counting the blades. But if the production of green hydrogen fuels industry and with it replace polluting electricity, the circle will begin to close. And at the same time, companies like DecomBlades, also from Denmark, is starting the feasibility study for recycle the blades of the mills in the future, when due to wear and tear caused by their use, they must be replaced.
Without a doubt it is a giant and necessary step to continue producing green electricity, which is the resource that will support the global network, not only for the operation of industries and life in cities, but also so that so many cars can be loaded as they intend to plug in.