New Projects Confirm Role of Germany in Energy Storage Segment

November 28, 2011 by Jeff Shepard

Two new developments confirm Germany’s position as a top location to implement energy storage technology: Canadian fuel cell maker Ballard announced the opening of its new European headquarters in Germany this week. And last week a new project to store wind energy via hydrogen in the German natural gas grid was also unveiled.

"Wind and solar power are weather dependent. With over 17 percent renewable electricity in Germany, demand for energy storage solutions is growing very quickly to balance this fluctuating energy supply. Germany has set ambitious goals for renewable energy and positioned itself as a lead market for commercialization of fuel cell, hydrogen and battery technologies," said Raphael Goldstein, energy storage expert at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin.

Ballard, the manufacturer of fuel cells, stacks, and integrated systems based outside Vancouver will coordinate its entire European activities from a new location in the city of Hürth near Cologne. The company cites Germany’s significance as a key market and leading technology location.

In addition to the Ballard announcement, German energy company E.On last week revealed plans to launch a new project in Brandenburg to transform renewable energy into hydrogen through electrolysis and feed it into the natural gas grid. This method primarily addresses the problem of oversupply from wind turbines. When too much energy is generated for the electricity grid to absorb at a given moment, this energy can be converted to hydrogen. Current regulations allow the German natural gas grid to absorb up to 5 percent hydrogen, but this is expected to increase in the future.