On 21. April Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel together with Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Platzeck laid the foundation stone for the first industrial hybrid power station in the world. It is developed and built by ENERTRAG.
The plant will harness wind to produce electricity as per conventional wind turbines. But when there is too much wind for the grid to handle, that excess energy will be converted via electrolysis – the separation of chemical compounds by electric current – into hydrogen for storage. This hydrogen can then be mixed with biogas at a later stage and converted back into energy that can be used to power homes. The renewable energies company responsible for the project, Enertrag, says the process is carbon free and comes at no cost to the environment. Merkel said the first-of-its-kind project offers a glimpse into the future of clean energy production. “I am glad that an enterprise from the Uckermark (region) has developed this trendsetting project. The combination of renewable energy and energy storage will be a determining factor in a steady and climate-acceptable energy supply,”  Chancellor Merkel said at the foundation stone-laying ceremony. Lutz Metz of the Environmental Policy Research Unit at the Free University in Berlin said hydrogen is as good an option as any.
“The conversion of wind power to hydrogen is not so bad,” he said. “It’s via electrolysis and the efficiency is in the range of 70 to 85 per cent. If you look at a car engine the efficiency is 15 per cent, so there’s a much more efficient conversion of wind power to hydrogen.”