Areva launches power-to-gas storage JV

FRANCE: Areva has formed a joint venture with Smart Energies subsidiary Ceth2 and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) to manufacture hydrogen electrolysers to compliment wind and solar projects.

Ceth2 has already developed designs for hydrogen electrolysers
Ceth2 has already developed designs for hydrogen electrolysers

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The Areva H2-Gen joint venture will manufacture proton-exchange membrane electrolysers that will produce hydrogen from water using excess energy from renewable energy projects.

Hydrogen produced from the systems will then be used to fuel hydrogen fuel cell vehicles or be added into natural gas networks for domestic and industrial use.

This company will be owned equally by the three partners and will be based in France, where it will have a dedicated engineering and production site.

An equity investment from the French state through ADEME will help finance the development and sale of more powerful electrolysers, Areva said in a statement.

Ceth2, which was bought by Smart Energies in 2010, is already developing prototypes of electrolysers.

Areva also formed a joint venture with Schneider in February for the development of a hydrogen fuel-cell energy storage system. However, this was based on Areva's existing Greenergy Box electrolyser.

Storage is seen as key to the development of the wind industry in Europe, where capacity is high and a number of company's are looking at ways to integrate the electricity into the grid.

Last August, E.on inaugurated a power-to-gas unit in Falkenhagen, eastern Germany, which is aimed at capturing wind power when the local grid is congested.

The 2MW unit uses wind power to run electrolysis equipment that transforms water into hydrogen. This is then injected into the regional gas transmission system as part of the natural gas mix.

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