Abengoa, an international company that applies innovative technology solutions for sustainable development in the infrastructure, energy and water sectors, through its Innovation area, moves forward the commissioning phase of the pilot plant for the production of energy through the use of hydrogen fuel cells of the Grasshopper project, in which it participates.
The main novelty of this plant is that it is the first in the market capable of operating in a dynamic, flexible and versatile way and with a significant cost reduction, being capable of maintaining its performance throughout its operating range. Its bidirectional communication with the electricity market allows it to offer capacity and receive requests through a platform designed for Smart grids, and its rapid response allows it to participate in the electricity reserve and grid balance markets. The plant is currently located in Free Zone of Seville, from where it will soon leave for its destination, in The Netherlands.
With the Grasshopper project (GRid ASsiSnting modular HydrOgen Pem PowER plant), or, in other words, PEM-type hydrogen fuel cell power plant for grid balance assistance), a new generation of power plants based on PEM-type (Proton Exchange Membrane) hydrogen fuel cell is created of hydrogen fuels, of the type, capable of operating dynamically, being able to adapt to the needs of the electricity grid demand, with a great response capacity, which makes it a 100% manageable installation. This added value will place it in a very competitive position in the backup power markets once the pilot plant is commercially developed. A larger-scale solution is already in the works, which will enable to enter to the market almost immediately.
Another great benefit of this plant is its modular nature, which makes it relatively easy to transport, and quick to connect, known as plug and play. Thus, Grasshopper presents the solution for the energy demand of remote places, or offgrid locations, such as camps or islands, or as an emergency generator for buildings, such as hospitals. Also, and since the plant generates energy not only in the form of electricity, but also heat, as a by-product, the plant generates heat, it can be used in industrial processes that require low temperature, or for heating supply in residential areas (CHP).
Destination: The Netherlands
Once the start-up phase is completed, the project will prepare to be transferred to its destination, a chemical park in Delfzijl (The Netherlands), where it will operate for five years to demonstrate its durability and economic viability. The plant will operate from the excess hydrogen produced in a chlor-alkali chemical plant.
International project and financing
In addition to Abengoa, the project consortium includes other companies and institutions such as INEA -Informatizacija Energetika Avtomatizacija, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells Limited (JMFC), Nedstack Fuel Cell Technology BV, Politécnico di Milano (Polimi) and Zentrum für Brennstoffzellen Technik Gmbh (ZBT).
The Grasshopper project meets the objective of the European Green Pact, which aims, among other things, to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Moreover, among the renewable energies that could supply a substantial part of the European energy mix by2050, hydrogen could represent up to 20%. Hydrogen is therefore a key point in the process of decarbonization of the energy sector and one of the best energy carriers for energy storage in the medium and long term, contributing to the development of a circular economy and a zeroemission society
The successful completion of the start-up of the Grasshopper project represents a key milestone for Abengoa, as it will open the door to new developments in this field, while reaffirming the company’s leading position worldwide in this sector.
This project has been funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking undersigned agreement number 779430. It is supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 framework program for research and innovation and by the Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research associations.