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Published on Sep 9, 2011
An innovative solution for one of the greatest problems of the energy revolution: electrolyzers can serve to store excess wind energy and power from other sources as hydrogen.
Europe is fostering the energy revolution -- but simply setting up wind turbines will hardly do the job. It is in the nature of renewable energy sources that they strongly depend on the weather. And it is not only the generating performance that varies greatly over time - energy consumption is also far from constant. Energy consumption during the evening hours is different from the morning, and on workdays it is significantly higher than at weekends.
To cut a long story short -- so far it is not sufficiently possible to plan wind power and solar energy. And so the greatest challenge of the energy revolution is storing e.g. wind power as efficiently as possible, so that it will be available when there is no wind. Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using so-called electrolyzers is one promising method. The hydrogen thus obtained could be stored e.g. in salt mines underground and used as a multi-purpose energy source when needed.
The challenges of the energy revolution and the leading role in sustainable chemistry to which we aspire at Solvay are two important reasons to deal with this topic, and they are the reasons why Solvay in Germany has organized the PRO H2 Technology Forum. The target: to find answers to open questions and to direct the focus to the potential of hydrogen as an energy storage.