Energy management with Offshore Wind Farms and Hydrogen Storage

The main problem with the integration of renewables into the existing electricity grid is the fluctuation in power production. In light of the planned dimension of future offshore wind farms this topic becomes more and more important.

Offshore wind farms have the potential to produce large amounts of electricity. There are wind farms planned for the German coastal zone area that are supposed to produce about 30 GW of electricity by the year 2030. The wind farm Sandbank 24, for instance, is planned to comprise nearly 1000 turbines, built in seven stages. The total installed capacity will be more than 3 GW.

The first 80 turbines of the first building stage are already expected to produce about 1.6bn kWh. This represents nearly a third of the electricity consumption of a city like Helsinki.

The combination of wind farms and hydrogen based energy storage can ease the integration of wind energy into the existing grid infrastructure. In addition, hydrogen can increase the range of possible applications of wind energy. With a system consisting of an electrolyser, hydrogen storage, and a fuel cell a flexible energy management becomes viable:

  • the largest portion of the wind generated electricity is fed into the grid
  • any energy which exceeds the current demand is used with the electrolyser to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is released into the air and the hydrogen is stored
  • the hydrogen is stored under pressure or in metal hydrides
  • fuel cells reconvert the hydrogen with oxygen (from the air) to electricity;  this process can be started within seconds and, therefore, be used to produce balancing energy and peak electricity
  • the fuel cells also help to stabilise the energy output of the wind farm and its hydrogen-fuel-cell-system 

The technical development of wind-hydrogen-systems is being pushed forward by several R&D activities. PLANET is involved in the projects HyWindBalance and RES2H2.

Part of the hydrogen can be sold to other energy sectors, e.g. the traffic sector.

Continue with Clean Traffic with Hydrogen

Selected publications on this topic

Th. Feck, R. Steinberger-Wilckens, K. Stolzenburg
Hydrogen as a Storage and Transportation Vector for Offshore Wind Power Production
Third International Workshop on Transmission Networks for Offshore Wind Farms, Stockholm, April 2002.

R. Steinberger- Wilckens, K. Stolzenburg
Hydrogen Based Traffic - An Option for Introducing Wind Energy to the Transport Market
European Wind Energy Association Conference, Kassel, September 2000.

more publications