Engineering

World’s largest electrolysis hydrogen storage

The U.S. Navy is currently testing an energy store from Dresden on its operational capability on ships and military sites. The company Sunfire has designed the largest commercial electrolysis plant that stores excess electricity in the form of hydrogen. Will power is needed, this can be produced in the short term in a fuel cell.Sunfire together with engineers from Boeing has developed the energy storage and now delivered to the U.S. Navy. The energy storage from Dresden is a large electrolysis plant, which uses hydrogen as storage medium. “Sunfire is proud to have developed the world’s largest reversible electrolysis. This is an important milestone on the road to industrialization,”says Nils Abbey, CFO at Sunfire. “Boeing is a great customer for us and enormously important for the final system integration.”

Largest electrolysis hydrogen storage
The hydrogen produced via electrolysis is stored under high pressure and if required again used in a fuel cell to produce electricity. Photo: Boeing

The Sunfire system uses excess energy from wind and Sun, to convert the current via electrolysis into hydrogen, which is then stored in highly compressed form. Later, the hydrogen can be used to generate electricity in a fuel cell.

“The system provides 42 cubic meters of hydrogen per hour with an efficiency of up to 85 percent in electrolysis mode”, so Sunfire. Fuel cell mode, the maximum power to 50 kW of electricity amounted per hour. Sunfire specifying the efficiency of 60 percent. Switching takes only a few minutes by absorption of energy on energy delivery.

Reversible Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (RSOFC) system
This is the largest commercial reversible electrolysis plant of the world. Sunfire in Dresden was developed by engineers of the aircraft manufacturer Boeing and the company, and is being tested now in the United States Navy in California. Links are the hydrogen storage to see right the fuel cell to generate electricity. Photo: Boeing

A special attraction of the technique is that hydrogen in highly compressed form can be stored almost indefinitely. Compared to the electricity storage using batteries, this is particularly useful because it comes in contrast to sustained self discharge of batteries with hydrogen storage not to energy losses.

High efficiency of the plant

The size of a 40-foot standard container has supplied to the US Navy. It includes a hot box, a cold box, control, as well as a steam generator. Before this facility on the U.S. Navy was delivered, it has been tested in the context of the electricity network of the American utility Southern California Edison.

Due to its memory function reversible electrolysis equipment can be used also to stabilize power. Finally, even hydrogen as raw material can be produced with these plants. High-purity hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, which can be fed directly into industrial processes.

The Navy is considering to use hydrogen on ships

The U.S. Navy keeps largely covered, concerning their plans for the use of reversible electrolysis plants. It comes according to tests in California clarify whether suitable this technology for the power supply on ships and small country stations.

It’s the Navy mainly to the use of wind power, which could be produced on ships and military stations near the coast. The solar technology as an energy source, however so far plays a minor role in the Navy.