Hydrogen CHP: The Future Has Begun

Power-to-gas technology uses green electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis. 2G’s CHP units use this regeneratively produced hydrogen as a climate-neutral fuel in order to convert it back into electricity – and also heat or cold – in a highly efficient, economically attractive and technically robust manner. With our own engines, 2G has succeeded in adapting a tried and tested, highly efficient natural gas CHP plant so that it can use pure hydrogen with comparable economy and reliability for the decentralised generation of electricity and heat.

All 2G engines are hydrogen enabled. They can operate off natural gas to begin with and hydrogen can be gradually blended-in up to 40%, or it can be switched to 100% hydrogen when available.

In summary:

  • 100% green hydrogen (H2) as a climate-neutral fuel for combined heat and power
  • Highly efficient, field-tested natural gas engines as the basis for the 2G hydrogen CHP
  • Hydrogen CHP can be used by public utilities and other energy suppliers as well as by industrial and commercial companies
  • Wide range of gas types can be used: from pure hydrogen to variable gas mixtures with natural gas or lean gases
  • Hydrogen engine CHP more robust and cheaper than fuel cells
  • Delivery as a ready-to-connect container solution possible

2G is a project partner in the ground-breaking H2 project of Stadtwerke Haßfurt. Working together with the Städtische Betriebe GmbH (municipal services responsible for local heating and public leisure services) as well as the data center Rechenzentrum Haßfurt GmbH, the Stadtwerk Haßfurt GmbH is part of the triad responsible for operating public services. The installed CHP is an agenitor 406 H2 from 2G with an electrical output of 140 kW operated with hydrogen in June 2019 enabled Stadtwerk Haßfurt to extend its power-to gas plant (PtG).

In contrast to the previous method of the addition of hydrogen into the natural gas grid with a regeneration using conventional CHPs, the new combined heat and power plant enables operation with pure hydrogen without the addition of any fossil fuels. For the first time, a hydrogen-based and zero-CO2 storage network has been created for regenerative electricity for communal use. The storage ‘chain’ starts with the generation of power from wind energy, proceeds to the

2G conversion into hydrogen by electrolysis and storage in pressure tanks and ends with the regeneration of power from combined power and heat generation. The hydrogen storage unit allows for a continuous operation of the CHP for approx. 15 hours thus increasing the system’s overall flexibility considerably.

Now that the plant has been in operation for over a year, it can be confirmed that the system meets all the high expectations in terms of availability and profitability.

Electrolysis involves separating water into oxygen – which can be used for medical or industrial applications – and hydrogen with a high degree of purity. In the PEM electrolyzer in Haßfurt, this process is conducted at a temperature of between approx. 30 and 70 °C at a pressure of 35 bar. The gas is then dried to remove as much moisture as possible. A water treatment plant demineralises the water before it is fed into the electrolysis stacks where the actual electrolysis process takes place.

CTO of 2G Energy AG, expects an increase in demand for the H2 CHP: “After the first installation of a H2 CHP at the BER airport in Berlin in 2012, we took the next step in Haßfurt of installing a standard CHP from the agenitor series which can be adapted at low cost for use of either pure hydrogen, a hydrogen/natural gas mixture or just natural gas. The safe and flexible operation as part of a wider use of PtG concepts with CHPs in the future is an integral part of the development work at 2G.”

Haßfurt has a right to be proud of the numerous awards it has received including the Bavarian Energy Prize in 2018 or being named as the “Pearl of the Energy Revolution” by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The “icing on the cake” was the “CHP of 2019” award voted by the jury of the B.KWK Bundesverband Kraft Wärme-Kopplung e. V. (National Cogeneration Association) and the ‘Energie & Management’ trade magazine in recognition for the future oriented investment decision of Stadtwerk

At its location in Rostock-Laage within view of the airport, APEX Energy operates the hydrogen power centre for Northern Germany. Together with a local partner, Europe’s largest grid-connected hydrogen plant is expected to supply the entire location with CO2-neutral energy.

Mathias Hehmann, CEO of APEX Energy Teterow GmbH, regards hydrogen CHPs as an important cornerstone for an environmentally friendly supply of power for the future:

“As a full-service specialist, we deliver tailormade system solutions designed for the energy of tomorrow. For industry and commerce, housing associations, for the intermediate storage of balancing energy, mobility solutions or for the connection of remote locations – hydrogen is the driving power behind a zero-emission future. The combined generation of power and heat in the H2 CHP is an important component in this equation.”

APEX Energy has commissioned 2G Energy to supply a highly innovative hydrogen combined heat and power plant (H2-CHP) for operation with renewable hydrogen. The CHP agenitor 404c H2 from 2G Energy with an electrical power of 115 kW (129 kW thermally)

APEX Energy uses the CHP to generate electricity and heat for its own use at the Rostock-Laage site. The plant produces APEXIS energy storage systems that require hydrogen to operate, which is produced by an electrolyser. The basis for hydrogen production is electricity from photovoltaic and wind turbines. APEXIS storage systems are designed as modular systems and offer secure and convenient storage in one place of customer choice. The standard system is designed for 60 bar printing and is equipped with market-leading permeability and patented connection technology.

In the centre of Esslingen, a new urban quarter with 500 apartments and a building for the local university is being built – including an electrolyser for the production of green hydrogen. The aim is to make housing and mobility climate-neutral for residents. The New Western Town in Esslingen offers a glimpse into the future. An electrolysis unit will soon be moving in there, together with the first inhabitants. Then a test run starts with a concept that may be a standard for producing and using hydrogen in 10 to 20 years. Even if the operating principle is quite logical and stringent, such practical examples show what planners, manufacturers and approval authorities still have to learn.

Other contracts such as the commissioning of a H2 CHP for Siemens in 2019 for a project on the Arabian peninsula, all confirm 2G’s market development in Hydrogen innovation.

For Frank Grewe, Head of Development at 2G Energy AG, the fourth order for an H2 CHP is proof that the market is ready to accept the further developed standard CHP of the agenitor series from 2G:

“We already reached a first milestone in 2012 with the installation of an H2 CHP at BER Airport in Berlin. With the agenitor 406 of the Stadtwerk Haßfurt, a hydrogen-based and CO2-free storage chain for renewable electricity was implemented for the first time in municipal practice last year.