Hydrogen stored in Britain’s gas grid could be more effective for making use of excess renewable power than batteries.
That’s the conclusion of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which said power can be stored in the form of hydrogen for longer than it can in a battery. Surplus electricity that’s generated when it’s windy or sunny can be used in an electrolysis process to create hydrogen, which can be stored in the natural gas grid until needed by generators.
“Gas networks can act as a lung for low-carbon electricity networks, absorbing surplus renewables when required and delivering gas for power generation when required to cover periods of low renewables availability,” according to the report published Wednesday in London.
Electricity storage is seen as the key part of achieving a future powered by renewable energy that is the vision of politicians across the world. Lithium-ion batteries are probably the fastest-growing solution but the limited availability of cobalt that’s needed for manufacturing raises questions about sustainability in the longer-term, it said in the report.