The Future of Power and Electrification
Hydrogen faces a number of challenges in its production, transport and storage. Liquid organic hydrogen carriers have advantage over long distances of hundreds of kilometres and release hydrogen at the point of use. Pipelines can be used, although the small hydrogen molecules penetrate the metal casing. Less than 200 km in transportation distance, high pressure trucks are efficient.
Fuel cells are becoming more efficient and are seeing greater use in transportation including shipping, buses and commercial fleets where they circumvent the charging time of battery electric.
The role of integrated battery solutions
In the last 10 years, GE has been working to build out propositions in the renewable energy-hybrid battery storage space. Rosa Milano, GE RE Hybrids spoke of the platform GE had developed to design and integrate complex storage solutions, using a lithium ion Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). GE has integrated a variety of battery modules from several Tier-1 suppliers and inverters (GE and non-GE), all managed with GE proprietary plant controller software. GE is also working closely with RE companies on solar and wind technology advancements focusing on hybrid controls. BESS advanced software controlling the full database of the operating spectrum of each asset (whether it’s the wind turbine, the solar inverters or a gas turbine integrated with storage) advances from a sub-system level optimisation to a complete hybrid-system level optimisation; unlocking the maximum value for stakeholders.
Nowadays, grid-scale battery energy storage systems can last more than a decade and their use as storage is now attractive, particularly in hybrid situations. One interesting application is the thermal hybrid configuration where the BESS can enhance operation of a gas turbine. As GTs need time to ramp up, they usually are kept running at minimum load to provide electricity instantly, burning fossil fuels in the process. The hybridisation of the GT with GE’s BESS brings several advantages, including very fast response times as the BESS provides immediate energy while the gas turbine attains capacity load. Other environmental improvements include reduced air pollution and water consumption with cost improvements as GT operations are optimised. GE is implementing this type of application in several GT+BESS projects globally: the first was completed in 2017 in Southern California.
A growth in energy-
hungry data centres and existing intensive refining, petrochemicals and semi-conductor manufacturing industries, means having optionality of renewable energy via an interconnector worth studying.