The German government has granted a consortium €28.4 million ($30 million) for the construction of a hydrogen energy-storage pilot project in Germany. This project will serve as a practical testing ground for the future conversion of existing conventional power plants to run on excess renewable energy.
Referenzkraftwerk Lausitz (RefLau) will presently be constructed in Spremberg, a city in the Lausitz area of eastern Germany, at the vast Schwarze Pumpe industrial district.
The facility will create green hydrogen from surplus wind and solar energy and store it before using it to generate electricity when the grid needs it.
The newly constructed facility, which is scheduled to go into operation by the end of 2025, will also be able to supply green hydrogen for sector coupling, which is the use of renewable energy in non-power industries including transportation, heating, and heavy industry.
According to the RefLau website, the project is a novel kind of storage power plant. The size of the project has not been disclosed, but considering the quantity of the money, it is unlikely to be utility-scale.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Energy (IEG), Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Dresden University of Technology, and the local association for the industrial park, Zweckverband Industriepark Schwarze Pumpe, are the project’s partners. Other participants include renewables developer Energiequelle, energy producer Enertrag, and the local association for the industrial park.