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Feb 10, 2012

Areva unveils hydrogen storage system

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A hydrogen storage system, designed to store excess electrical energy produced by a solar photovoltaic plant, has been installed on the island of Corsica by French nuclear and renewable-energy company Areva.

The storage system aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a solar energy storage solution using hydrogen technologies to mitigate the fluctuations of solar power generation and contribute to securing the island’s power grid, the company states.

After more than two-and-a-half years of work, the 560 kW photovoltaic power plant has been connected to an innovative energy storage system, developed by Areva, consisting of an electrolyser, hydrogen and oxygen reserves and a fuel cell.

The system is called the Myrte platform, the French acronym for the Mission for Renewable Hydrogen Integration into the Electricity Grid.

Myrte has been connected to, and is operating on, the Corsican electricity grid since December 16 – a first in Europe and worldwide in this power range, Areva notes.

The system was built and adapted for use on the small grid on the island, and aims to stabilise such small and isolated grids that may experience fluctuating power generation owing to the use of renewable energy or a lack of sufficient generation to meet peak demand.

The storage system can be used to store excess energy produced as stable gases and recombine them in the fuel cell to provide power to stabilise the grid, when necessary. It is more cost effective than installing more generation capacity, says Areva.

“The Myrte platform enables us to get out of the laboratory and test our technology in a real environment. It is our first installation, at this maturity level, connected to the electricity network. The installation is the beginning of a new chapter for our business unit. We will now focus on the operational exploitation of such systems,” says Areva Hydrogen & Energy Storage VP Jérôme Gosset.

Areva’s Hydrogen & Energy Storage business unit will focus on progressively working out the most successful operation modes to integrate decentralised renewable electricity into insular grids, while helping to secure them.

Further, Areva will continue to invest in Myrte. The Hydrogen & Energy Storage unit’s activity will include, by 2013 and within the framework of Myrte Phase 2, the next generation of hydrogen systems. This device, named the Greenergy Box, is a containerised integrated hydrogen system and is based on the hydrogen technologies currently implemented on the Myrte platform.

The platform fits perfectly with the group’s strategy, which is to provide electricity production technologies, nuclear and renewables, with extremely low carbon dioxide emissions, Gosset concludes.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
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