The European Union (EU) has granted €2.5m in funding for a three-year project which is coordinated by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland to demonstrate a technology that allows flexible storage of renewable power.
The BALANCE project, which will receive the funding from the Horizon 2020 initiative, will focus on further developing electrochemical conversion technology, known as a reversible solid oxide cell (ReSoc).
Using electricity, the ReSOC device can split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas through a high temperature electrolysis process.
Moreover, the flexible energy conversion technology can also be operated in reverse to produce power from the same hydrogen gas it produced.
VTT said in a statement: “Using the same device for converting power to a storable gas and for converting this gas back to power again enables very flexible usage of the device, thus increasing its operating hours as well as reducing it capital costs.”
According to VTT, the ReSOC technology will help to balance the power market by converting power, at peak production hours, into a chemical for storage at later use.
During peak consumption hours, the stored chemical is converted back to electricity at the same site.
The project, which began in December 2016, includes several European research institutes and universities including Technical University of Denmark, the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission in France, and the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development.
Other partners include the University of Birmingham in the UK, TU Delft in the Netherlands, Switzerland’s EPFL and Poland’s Institute of Power Engineering.