Preparations for the Field Test of the HPEM2GAS project

The HPEM2GAS project is developing a low cost PEM electrolyzer in a six month field testing of an advanced 180 kW system. In addition to the technically very demanding work packages, such as the creation of membranes, the catalytic coating of these membranes and the implementation of the MEAs in a newly developed stack, the field test also represents an important part of this project.

The field test takes place in the HPEM2GAS project at the end of the project period. All newly developed components will be tested for their functionality and durability.

The preparations for the field test include various aspects: A suitable construction area had to be found during the planning of the construction work. A construction site in the immediate vicinity of a gas transfer station proved to be interesting and very suitable. At this gas transfer station, natural gas with a pressure of 50 bar is supplied, which is then reduced to a pressure of 8.5 bar and fed into the main gas network of the city of Emden. The operator of this gas transfer station is Stadtwerke Emden (SWE), which is also a project partner.

Construction work on the field test began in summer 2018 and extended over an area of 10 x 15 metres. The site first had to be cleared of trees. Two foundation blocks were erected in the centre of these, on which the electrolyzer will soon stand. In order to ensure a safe position and to protect the electrolyzer from sagging, wooden piles were embedded under the foundation blocks in the soft soil. The necessary power and water lines were then laid, after that the area could be covered with a gravel layer and fenced in.

Other construction measures included networking the electrolyzer with the gas transfer station. The hydrogen produced is fed into the gas transfer station via an above-ground pipeline. The hydrogen must first pass through a control section. The pressure is 10 bar. After this control, the hydrogen is fed into a mixer in order to mix the feed with the natural gas.

SWE’s electricity grid, which mainly draws electricity from renewable sources, is used to supply the electrolyzer with the electricity it needs. A transformer ensures that a low voltage can be guaranteed for the electrolyser.

By going through all these processes, all the planned installation preparations have been done. After very intensive discussions with ITM Power, nothing now stands in the way of a smooth implementation of the electrolyser in the installation area.

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