Wind-hydrogen systems providing balancing power

With an increasing share in the energy mix, the integration of power generated by wind farms can cause problems in respect to its feeding into the grid. The reason is the wind's intermittent nature and, as a consequence thereof, the lack of predictability in the generation of power. It is, hence, expected that the demand for balancing power derived from fossil fuels will increase in the future. In addition, the amount of renewable power generated at peak-times (high winds) cannot be sufficiently taken up by the grid due to limited capacities.

One possible solution to balance these fluctuations in renewable generation is to "store" wind energy chemically in hydrogen produced by electrolysis. This hydrogen can be reconverted into electricity using fuel cells or it is sold to other energy sectors, e.g. as fuel for road vehicles (see the projects HyFLEET:CUTE and CUTE).

The main goal of HyWindBalance was to develop and demonstrate such a wind-hydrogen system for energy storage.

Central elements of such systems are appropriate control algorithms and optimal operation strategies under different meteorological, technical and economic circumstances. Wind and demand forecasts are used.

Wind-hydrogen systems can balance the fluctuations in energy production of wind farms and provide scheduled peak or balancing power.

HyWindBalance involved planning and operating a pilot plant at the Energy Laboratory of the University of Oldenburg that consisted of an electrolyser, pressure vessels, a fuel cell and control software.




PLANET had developed the idea and the concept of this project and played the leading role together with Overspeed GmbH & Co. KG.

PLANET's responsibility was the planning of the pilot system hardware including the approval procedure. We worked on the development of operating strategies and evaluated the technical and economic feasibility of large-scale plants.

In the pilot plant, wind power as well as a load were emulated by a computer programme. Thus operating strategies could be developed and optimised in an iterative manner. We aimed at a quality of wind power feed-in that is compatible with the standards of conventional grid operation.

PLANET also led the public relations and educational work which included public tours on the site and talks and lectures for a variety of audiences.


Project Information

HyWindBalance was carried out by

  • Overspeed GmbH & Co. KG,
  • ForWind Center for Wind Energy Research,
  • energy und meteo systems GmbH,
  • Projekt Ökovest GmbH and
  • University of Oldenburg, Department for Energy and Semiconductor Research.

The project had an overall budget of about 1.5m and ran until the March 2008. Funding came from the participating companies, the federal state of Lower-Saxony, the European Regional Development Fund, and EWE AG.

Find a publication with key results on: www.hywindbalance.com