ITM Power the energy storage and clean fuel company, has been awarded a grant under the Technology Strategy’ Smart Power Distribution and Demand competition. The project is due to commence in July 2012 and has a duration of 12 months.

The UK quotient of renewable energy generation is due to increase by a factor of five over the next decade and this will dramatically increase the unpredictability of supply. Coupled with existing curtailment traffic and distribution network bottlenecks, this presents a significant technical and financial challenge. The ITM Power lead project aims to investigate the technical, financial and operational feasibility of injecting hydrogen gas, generated from electrolysis fed from excess renewables, into the UK gas networks.

ITM Power is collaborating in a partnership which includes the  Scottish Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA)and Kiwa Gastec at CRE, on the £164k feasibility study. The project includes preliminary logistical research, system research, creation of a generation model and the simulation of hydrogen production at a single wind farm.

Graham Cooley, CEO at ITM Power, commented: “ITM Power’s technology is ready at the 1MW level and we are very excited about energy storage using the injection of hydrogen directly into the gas grid. Managing renewables is about harvesting and utilising the maximum amount of energy possible. Generating green hydrogen and injecting it directly into the gas main grid is an excellent way of solving the renewable intermittency quandary.”

Nigel Holmes, CEO at  SHFCA commented: “The Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association is delighted to be contributing to this feasibility study. Scotland is becoming a renewable energy centre of excellence, and SHFCA members will be at the heart of the transition from coal, gas and oil to clean renewable energy. We have significant stranded gas grids in Scotland, and having the ability to link these with our burgeoning renewable power industry will show a pathway towards future energy security for communities across Scotland. This project using UK developed and manufactured clean technology will be a welcome development which supports UK energy strategy and fully aligns with the ambition to deliver the Scottish 2020 targets.”

Mark Crowther, Director and General Manager at Kiwa Gastec at CRE, commented: “The use of the mains gas grid for clean energy storage is a logical step and Gastec are looking forward to providing our expertise in this area to the feasibility project. There will be a considerable amount of compliance work necessary to make this happen and this consortium has the skills to achieve the required outcome.”