The HyBalance project is one of several initiatives to help transform energy systems from fossil dependency to relying on renewable and local energy sources by utilising the potential of hydrogen.
The EU is committed to a forward-looking climate policy with energy security and independence, decarbonising of the economy, as some of its prioritised dimensions.
Until recently, a mix of biomass and wind -and solar-based energy sources combined with energy savings appeared to be sufficient to cover energy needs and provide adequate flexibility to balance the fluctuations from wind- and solar-based electricity, which is essential for the stability in the grid. In this scheme, hydrogen only played an indirect role as an intermediate energy carrier. Its potential as a direct application in end-use had not really surfaced.
But in recent years, the use of wind- and solar-based electricity has gained more attention also in transportation. There is also an understanding that this may have a greater impact on the energy system as a whole than previously believed. With the share of renewable energy growing in the energy mix, the need to store and downstream use in fossil dependent sectors such as transportation has thus become a critical issue.
Together with the insight that biomass is a limited resource that therefore has inadequate global potential in the energy system with an increasing total renewable electricity demand, the issue of using hydrogen to back up electricity in the energy sector has surfaced. The production of hydrogen based on wind power utilising electrolysis is a known technology but there is still only limited demonstrations of large scale systems operating in a highly-dynamic environment and providing grid-balancing services.
HyBalance is a project that demonstrates the use of hydrogen in energy systems. The hydrogen will be produced from water electrolysis, enabling the storage of low-priced renewable electricity from wind turbines. It will thus help balance the grid, and the renewable hydrogen will be dispensed by hydrogen stations to be used for mobility. Hydrogen will also be used in the industry.
The HyBalance project has a budget of EUR 15 million.