Specialist in integrated hydrogen energy systems ITM Power is installing a 3MW electrolyser for refuelling a fuel cell electric bus network in Birmingham, UK.

ITM Power, in Sheffield, England, makes electrolysers and related technology designed to convert electricity from sources that include renewable energy generation plants, as well as the grid, into hydrogen.

The electrolyser forms the core component within a fuel cell electric bus refueller, the first station of its kind the company has commercialised.

ITM Power will build, own and operate the refuelling station, costing £5.5 million (€6.3 million), supported with a £3.5 million government grant, which will be installed at Tyseley Energy Park on the outskirts of Birmingham city. The park is a public-private collaborative endeavour to establish innovative clean energy and fuel systems as well as a different types of electric vehicle infrastructure that will also help to clean up air pollution in and around Birmingham.

ITM Power’s electrolyser will absorb electricity from the grid and convert it into hydrogen for refuelling the bus fleet. The system will be installed later in 2018, in time for the introduction of hydrogen-fuelled buses that will hit the roads from the first quarter of 2019.

The system will earn additional revenues via provision of grid balancing services to the National Grid, the UK transmission system operator (TSO).

Though these various ancillary grid service markets are being reviewed and streamlined, the system supplied by ITM Power would qualify for the Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) and the Frequency Control by Demand Management (FCDM) markets.

In the FCDM market loads of 3MW and above interrupt their demand, based on a signal from the TSO, to stop falls in frequency deviation. According to ITM Power’s chief executive Graham Cooley, an intermediary could be used if the asset can be aggregated to provide better economics.

 

Visitors to ITM Power can experience first hand the company’s technology: its small fleet of fuel cell EVs can be powered on clean hydrogen, converted from electricity generated by a local wind turbine

Grid balancing supports economics of hydrogen energy systems

In Rhineland, in Germany, ITM Power announced earlier in 2018 that it is building the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis plant with Shell, which will become operational in 2020.

With a peak capacity of 10MW the hydrogen will be used for the processing and upgrading of products at the refinery. In addition the system, which enables hydrogen to be made from electricity rather than natural gas, will provide grid balancing services, helping to increase the integration of renewable energy in Germany’s grid.

As part of efforts to expand internationally, during 2018 ITM Power will also undertake two feasibility studies in North America.

Earlier in April the company announced the award of a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to undertake a multi-MW power-to-gas (P2G) feasibility study for the state, which has adopted a 200MWh energy storage
target.

The study, to be undertaken in collaboration with local utility Holyoke Gas and Electric (HG&E), will provide the basis for a commercial business case for hydrogen energy in the region, deploying P2G and hydrogen fuel derived from renewable energy sources, mainly wind, according to Cooley.

In late March ITM Power announced the award of a grant from the British Columbia Government Ministries of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and Jobs, Trade and Technology, in Canada, to undertake a P2G feasibility study.

The project has the potential to be one of the largest of its kind globally, with total hydrogen electrolysis capacity of up to 300MW under consideration, to supply both domestic and international export demand.

In both cases the feasibility studies will also take into account revenues from provision of grid balancing services.