Many of the world’s islands and other remote areas aren’t connected to a national power grid. Lacking reliable and inexpensive electricity, they rely on diesel generators or local renewable energy sources such as sunlight and wind. Although solar and wind energy are greener alternatives, they’re intermittent and supply often fails to meet demand. A promising solution to this problem is bulk energy storage, in which hydrogen has a major advantage. Not only can it be produced from renewable energy, unlike electricity it can also be stored in large amounts for long periods of time. Aiming to demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen-based energy storage in isolated microgrid areas, the EU-funded REMOTE project has installed such a system in Agkistro, a small village in the regional unit of Serres. The equipment consists of a hydrogen power-to-power system. The system consists of an electrolyser that converts electricity into hydrogen (power-to-gas) and a fuel cell system that converts hydrogen stored in large quantities back to electricity (gas-to-power).
Powering an agri-food processing unit
The hydrogen-based energy storage system will make it possible to supply a local agri-food processing unit with power. A Greek renewable energy company will use part of the energy generated by the nearby hydroelectric plant it owns to produce hydrogen. This hydrogen will then be stored and used to generate electricity when needed. “[Project partner] ENGIE EPS has pioneered hydrogen since 2005, and has been at the forefront of battery storage and microgrids since 2012,” stated ENGIE EPS CEO Carlalberto Guglielminotti in a press release posted on the company’s website. “With the finalization of the Agkistro’s plant, our hydrogen proprietary technology is now proven in 4 continents as the only available option to make microgrids 100 % green. For the future, we are also targeting utility- scale opportunities as system integrator and technology provider, leveraging our patented technology platform and unparalleled hydrogen and storage experience for our Industrial Solutions product line.” Agkistro is one of four demo sites chosen by the REMOTE team. The other three sites are the Froan archipelago in Norway (another isolated microgrid application) and the off-grid remote villages of Ginostra and Ambornetti in the southern and northern regions of Italy, respectively. The four sites test a mix of different renewable sources in southern Europe’s and Scandinavia’s contrasting climates. The aim is to achieve an almost complete substitution of fossil fuels in all sites. The REMOTE (Remote area Energy supply with Multiple Options for integrated hydrogen-based TEchnologies) project was awarded as the best renewable energy project in the Innovation category during the European Sustainable Energy Week 2020 Awards held earlier this year. The 4-year project ends in December 2021. For more information, please see: REMOTE project website
REMOTE, hydrogen, power, energy, storage