Energy storage firm McPhy Energy has joined the GRHYD project launched by the GDF Suez Gas and New Energies Research and Innovation Centre (CRIGEN).
Composed of 10 French partners, the aim of this program is to offer a flexible solution combining electricity and gas energy management, via the hydrogen vector.
An initial 5-year experiment will start shortly in an eco-district, based on injection of hydrogen produced from renewable energies into the natural gas network.
A second experiment will be conducted at the same time to test Hythane, a greener fuel, on vehicles running on vehicle natural gas.
McPhy Energy will provide its expertise in hydrogen storage solutions, the company said in a written statement.
The GRHYD project is intended to promote the production of "green" energy, especially that produced by wind turbines.
According to the company, turbine output varies considerably, depending on weather conditions, and may sometimes exceed demand and saturate the grid. In this case, the production units, for example wind farms, are generally shut down, resulting in a considerable loss of precious energy for France.
By using the gas network to store this electricity surplus, GDF Suez and its partners intend to gain a foothold on this promising sector by providing an efficient response to this difficulty.
They also plan to comply with European directive 2009/28/C, which sets France the target of a 23 percent share of renewable energies in its overall gross energy consumption by 2020.
The general principle consists in recovering the energy surplus generated by the wind turbines and converting it into hydrogen, a storable fuel gas. The gas will then be reinjected on demand into the existing gas network according to requirements.
This system, known as "Power to Gas", has already been adopted in Germany and the US. It offers numerous advantages: promotion of renewable energies, use of an existing infrastructure (the gas network) and production of electricity on demand, the company said.