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Periodic Reporting for period 4 - HyBalance (HyBalance)

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2020-09-30

HyBalance is a project that demonstrates the use of hydrogen in energy systems. The hydrogen is produced from water electrolysis, enabling the storage of cheap renewable electricity. In that sense it can help balance the grid when production by wind turbines is in excess or too weak.
The project is a technology showcase for sustainable development pathways in Europe as it implements advanced key technologies. It will not only validate highly dynamic PEM electrolysis system but also demonstrate these in a real industrial environment by delivering the industrial sector and clean mobility market.

Thus, the project will participate to the improvement of the whole hydrogen value chain with the following objectives :

- Experimentation under industrial conditions of the PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) technology which is characterized by a high efficiency, a smaller footprint and better capability to operate under flexible operations. These characteristics make PEM technology an excellent candidate to balance renewable power, and the PEM technology presents a high cost reduction potential through mass production.

- Environmental benefits
The HyBalance project is one of several initiatives to help transform energy systems from fossil dependency to relying on renewable and local energy sources by utilizing the potential of hydrogen.
The project aims to demonstrate that hydrogen from electrolysis lowers significantly the environmental impact of conventional means of production.

- Business cases
The HyBalance setting is unique in demonstrating the multiple applications of Power-to-Hydrogen Technologies, including how hydrogen can be used in multiple high value markets such as industry and clean transportation. The project will help validate business models for these applications including the potential revenues from the storage of cheap renewable energy from wind turbines and grid balancing services.
The Hybalance program started in October 2015 and ended in September 2020.

During period 1, the preliminary definition of the plant has been frozen and the PEM electrolyser manufacturing has started. The local mobility and industrial hydrogen markets targeted have been defined. A first sod event took place in Hobro in presence of the Danish minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate and the website was launched.

During period 2, the detailed design of the plant has been completed, the electrolyzer was delivered to the site and the whole plant has been constructed and commissioning has started. Furthermore a report on the stakeholders within hydrogen for mobility has been completed and contacts signed with the future customers.

During period 3, the project has achieved a remarkable milestone with the plant commissioning in the beginning of 2018 and the hydrogen production start-up. The first successful delivery of Hydrogen through tube trailers to industrial and mobility market have been performed. A pipeline has been installed to serve a local industrial customer directly from the Hybalance plant. Energinet, the Danish TSO, certified the site to provide grid balancing services. The plant was inaugurated in September 3rd 2018 and the event gathered customers and project partners as well as Danish authorities.

During period 4, HyBalance continued the increase the hydrogen production ramp-up. Tests were performed to evaluate the performance of the PEM technology and the unit in general. Energy trading and grid balancing services software were implemented and bids have been placed to assess the revenues from these services.

Finally, the project has demonstrated that :
- The PEM electrolysis technology achieves a high level of availability and efficiency : the HyBalance plant has produced 130 tons of hydrogen since its inauguration in 2018 demonstrating a high availability with more than 16 000 hours of operation and enabling 24/7 hydrogen production.
- It is possible to store electricity on a larger scale in the form of hydrogen
- Hydrogen production can help balance the electricity grid : the facility has validated the PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolysis technology as highly dynamic, able to cope with fast power ramps up and downs.
- The hydrogen produced by water electrolysis can serve clean transport and industry : the plant has delivered an industrial customer connected through a pipeline in continuous mode as well as other customers across Denmark.

The results have been disseminated at Danish and European level all along the program duration via the website, press and media coverage, brochures, videos, visits at site, conference and workshops. Air Liquide will continue to operate the site and produce hydrogen to supply its customers.
The HyBalance facility is the first of its kind in Europe. The 1.2 MW HyBalance electrolyser has demonstrated that producing hydrogen to store energy at a large scale – including electricity from renewable sources – is technically and economically viable.
HyBalance achieve a great step toward the demonstration of performance on the field, exceeding at some points the benchmark of 2017 state of the art.

- High availability supplying industry and clean transportation
In terms of technical performance, the PEM electrolyzer is producing high purity H2 in the expected efficiency range (56,5 kWh/kg incl. auxiliaries) at nominal flow (230Nm3/h) and pressure. The plant is fully integrated into the Air Liquide gas logistic supply chain.

- High flexibility and short reaction-time help balance the grid
HyBalance is thus certified by the Danish energy grid operator as a bidder in all electricity markets. This is a great success as specifically in the primary reserve containment (FCR), only a few power installations are able to reach a reaction time below 10 seconds.

- Environmental benefits of power to H2 solutions
In 2019, 47 percent of the electricity consumed in Denmark derived from wind power. HyBalance has demonstrated the benefits of water electrolysis H2 production process achieving Green House Gases emissions reduction by 30% from conventional production SMR production means. Increasing the share of renewable electricity in the mix and increasing the efficiency of the electrolysis plant would lead to a further decrease of GHG emissions.

- Lessons learnt for future deployment
Plenty of lessons learnt have been gathered on the electrolyzer design manufacturing process as well as installation and testing protocols. The execution of the project and operation of the unit provided insights on many aspects (safety rules and risks assessments, operation management ...). All the experience gained by partners could be replicated to future sites deployment.

- Business cases
The HyBalance case studies provide key leanings for future projects developments in terms of infrastructure investments budget, good operational practices for the plant management and maintenance as well as optimization of the electricity costs.
The grid revenues represent a solution to lower the cost of electricity. The project demonstrates a high potential of revenues from FCR in Denmark for HyBalance power size enabling to reduce by 15% to 25% the energy costs. With forecast prices of energy on the rise, there will have more and more benefits to optimize the electricity trading strategy for new deployment, especially for large power scale facilities.
Global view of the Hybalance Plant