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Hydrogen and electromobility

We opened the first energy independent industrial complex in the Czech Republic

Hydrogen economy, energy storage in hydrogen or hydrogen battery - concepts that have been around in the Czech Republic for a long time, we at DEVINN have decided to put them into practice.

Together with the Governor of the Central Bohemian Region Petra Pecková, the Governor of the Liberec Region Martin Puta, Petr Mervart from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Rector of the Technical University in Liberec Miroslav Brzezina, we opened the first installation of a closed-loop hydrogen economy in the Czech Republic at the end of September.

The basic idea behind the whole system is that in the summer months, most PV plants produce more energy than the building consumes after them. Conversely, as the cooler season arrives and thus the days get shorter, energy production decreases. In the winter, there is often not enough to cover consumption alone.

The same thing happens between day and night, when the difference in energy production and consumption is covered by the batteries in most PV plants. However, in order to make industrial buildings in particular more energy independent, more energy needs to be stored from summer to winter. For long-term energy storage, green hydrogen is the ideal solution.

In the so-called hydrogen economy system, which we installed at our headquarters in Jablonec nad Nisou, the surplus electricity from photovoltaics first goes to the electrolyser. There, an electric current breaks down the water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen gas is then stored in a special pressure vessel and awaits its use in a few months. In winter, the hydrogen then flows into our H2BASE hydrogen generator with fuel cell. Electricity, water and heat are generated. In addition, we can easily use the waste heat for heating. This increases the efficiency of the entire process many times over.

As part of the system installation, we experienced the entire process first-hand, from the energy balance to the final safety approval and acceptance. It is this experience that we want to pass on to our customers in the coming months.

Each implementation is individual, so we will always start with a feasibility study. We design the performance of the electrolyzer, the fuel cell in H2BASE and the storage capacity to suit. The data from the first customer studies confirm to us that the system is currently most worthwhile on buildings with a larger area of PV and thus a larger volume of energy to store. The notional threshold where hydrogen storage starts to be more cost effective than battery storage is approximately 4.5 MWh of energy.

Storing surplus energy in hydrogen is thus an ideal solution for logistics centres, for example. Moreover, the system can be designed so that the hydrogen will remain in the circuit even after the desired degree of energy independence has been achieved. The resulting hydrogen can then be used by customers to power hydrogen handling equipment, for example, or to charge electric vehicles using our mobile semi-autonomous H2BOT charger.

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