Upper Austria’s Gampern is set to become a hub for green energy, with RAG Austria AG (RAG) partnering with INNIO Group (INNIO) to deploy hydrogen engine technology. Their joint venture aims to breathe life into a hydrogen cogeneration plant, which is designed to enhance energy security by harnessing green power and heat.
The move will see RAG’s “Underground Sun Storage” house the world’s first 100% hydrogen storage facility in a porous underground reservoir. This will allow up to 4.2 gigawatt hours of summer-generated electricity to be stockpiled as green hydrogen for the winter.
Emphasising the significance of hydrogen technology in securing energy supplies amidst renewable energy fluctuations, Dr. Olaf Berlien, President and CEO of INNIO labelled the company’s hydrogen technology as ‘foundational’ for energy security.
“We are already helping businesses and communities around the world to become carbon neutral. Hydrogen-ready decentralised energy solutions, ideally in the form of highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) plants, make our energy supply future proof.”
Scheduled for a spring 2024 launch, the Jenbacher hydrogen CHP plant, boasting a one megawatt (MW) capacity, promises on-demand electricity production during winter, alongside the utilisation of waste heat for heating needs.
The project spearheaded by INNIO and RAG focuses on enhancing the entire green energy value chain, ensuring coordination across generation, conversion, storage and supply.
“In Gampern, Upper Austria, we are demonstrating what can and must be done to manage the energy transition by securing a reliable supply of green energy throughout the year,” said Markus Mitteregger, CEO of RAG.
“The hydrogen cogeneration plant is a key building block for the entire hydrogen ramp-up because flexible, quick-start CHP plants can not only generate electricity as needed but also produce the heat that is so important in winter. This significantly improves efficiency while also facilitating the heating transition.”
According to Future Market Insights, the global CHP market is worth around $29.5m and is forecast to be valued at $49m by 2033.
However, there are several technical hurdles to overcome before embracing the widespread adoption of pure hydrogen and hydrogen-natural gas blends to fully harness the emerging hydrogen economy.
These challenges encompass various areas, including production, transportation, diverse combustion technologies and their associated installations.