Hydrogen-powered combustion engines seemed dead after BMW had stopped development work on H2 reciprocating piston engines years ago. This still applies to passenger cars, but not to commercial vehicles or stationary plants. In the sector of large combined heat and power plants, 2G Energy AG has long been working on making its gas engines compatible with hydrogen.
How far this development has progressed in the meantime is demonstrated in Hassfurt, where Siemens AG received the order in July 2019 to build such a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Dubai.
As part of a pilot project on the Arabian Peninsula, solar energy from one of the world’s largest solar parks is to be temporarily stored in the form of hydrogen. The electrolyser for H2 production is provided by Siemens. 2G has already shipped its agenitor 412 (280 kWel), so that it can re-convert the green hydrogen upon demand. The project aims to demonstrate how solar energy can be generated, stored and used for other applications on a large scale. The solar park is expected to be completed by mid-2020 (total output: 800 MW) and the H2 CHP plant will be commissioned shortly.
In Haßfurt, Siemens and 2G have already shown what such a plant can look like in a smaller dimension (120 kWel). The hydrogen combined heat and power plant at the local municipal utilities went into operation at the end of June 2019. The next order for a further plant in Germany has now been placed. Christian Grotholt, CEO and founder of 2G Energy, commented: “We are registering a lively and broad interest in our hydrogen know-how and are therefore optimistic that we will be able to further expand our technological leadership
According to Frank Grewe, the company’s development manager from Heek (NRW), 1,150 g CO2 per kilowatt hour are emitted when electricity is generated in a coal-fired power plant without combined heat and power. In contrast, a natural gas CHP plant emits 350 g CO2 per kilowatt hour – an H2 CHP plant 0 g CO2.