Areva and Schneider join forces for wind energy storage

FRANCE: Areva and Schneider Electric have teamed up to work on the development of a hydrogen fuel-cell energy storage system to compliment renewable energy generation.

Areva's current Greenergy Box storage system
Areva's current Greenergy Box storage system

Under the agreement, the companies will work together to propose and design new systems to smooth the power from wind and solar.

The system will be based on Areva's existing Greenergy Box, which can store energy through hydrogen- and oxygen-generating electrolysis.

In order to provide power at times of high demand, the gas storage system will be combined with a hydrogen fuel cell, which can convert the gas back into electricity that can be put into the grid.

The Greenergy Box is already connected to a 560kW photovoltaic solar power plant in Corsica, but Areva said the storage system will also provide wind generators with a solution to better meet the needs of the grid.

Schneider Electric is a French company that specialises in electricity distribution and management.

Other forms of energy storage that seek to enable energy generated through wind to be released on to the grid when it is most needed are being developed, such as large-scale batteries. However, none have yet achieved widespread deployment.

In August last year, utility E.on inaugurated its own power-to-gas unit in Falkenhagen, Brandenburg in eastern Germany, which is aimed at capturing wind power when the local grid is congested.

Similar to Areva and Schneider's proposed system, this unit also uses wind power to run electrolysis equipment that transforms water into hydrogen. However, it is different in that this gas is then injected into the regional gas transmission system as part of the natural gas mix. 

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