TNO and Wageningen University & Research will work closely together in the field of hydrogen. The WUR test station in Lelystad will be expanded with TNO test facilities to investigate how the electricity grid can be kept stable if large amounts of electricity and hydrogen are produced from 2030 onwards by wind farms in the North Sea. WUR focuses mainly on hydrogen applications for the agricultural sector. The field lab will start this summer.
System integration is the major issue now that offshore wind energy is set to grow strongly in the coming period. In the Dutch part of the North Sea, ten large wind farms will be added before 2030. Over time, offshore wind will have to generate approximately 70,000 megawatts of electricity. The large amount of power and the strongly fluctuating supply make conversion of electricity to hydrogen an interesting prospect. Hydrogen makes it possible to use wind and solar energy on a large scale in the future sustainable energy system. It is still unclear how all this can be fitted in without endangering the stability of the network.
Stable electricity grid
The new field lab consists of solar panels, wind turbines, electrolysers and battery systems that are interconnected. TNO experts are going to configure all these components separately and in conjunction such that the electricity grid functions optimally. This is a more efficient and cheaper solution than transporting energy generated at sea with all its peaks and troughs directly to the grid. Properly adjusting all components in advance makes the electricity grid stable and can process a highly variable supply more efficiently.
Offshore wind energy will be the most important sustainable source of energy for our country along with solar, biomass and geothermal energy. Conversion of electricity from wind to hydrogen is interesting for sectors that can use it as an energy supply and as a clean fuel. While WUR is developing applications for the agricultural sector in the field lab, TNO is considering how wind energy and hydrogen can be efficiently and affordably integrated into the energy system. For example, TNO has developed a number of variants in order to be able to flexibly adapt the production of wind farms to changing market demand or circumstances. TNO is ideally placed to map the relationship between the various sources of energy, supply and demand, technology and the energy system as a whole.