Powering the Green Horizon: GK Insulators' NAS Battery Breakthrough in Germany's Hydrogen Revolution

Posted on 24 April 2024

​In a significant stride towards sustainable energy solutions, GK Insulators, a leading Japanese technology company, is set to supply 72 containerised sodium-sulfur (NAS) battery storage units to a pioneering green hydrogen production plant in Germany. This initiative underscores the convergence of renewable energy sources with cutting-edge storage technologies to drive the transition towards a greener future.

The project, located on the Baltic Shore of northern Germany, will utilise GK Insulators' proprietary NAS batteries to store electricity generated from wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. This stored energy will then be employed in hydrogen electrolysis, marking a pivotal step towards decarbonising industrial processes.

​BASF Stationary Energy Storage, a subsidiary of the renowned German chemicals company BASF, has placed the order for these advanced NAS batteries. The collaboration between BASF and NGK, which began in 2019, reflects a strategic alliance aimed at advancing high-temperature NAS battery technology and facilitating its integration into the energy market.

​Although the project is still in the planning stage, the initial order comprises NAS batteries with a maximum output of 18MW and a capacity of 104.4MWh, equivalent to a duration of 5.8 hours. This order forms the first phase of a larger supply agreement expected to encompass a total capacity of 230MWh.

​NAS battery technology, boasting over two decades of market presence, addresses energy storage requirements spanning four to eight hours, operating within the temperature range of approximately 290°C to 360°C. With an intended lifespan of around 20 years, these batteries offer reliability and longevity, supporting approximately 7,300 cycles throughout their operational lifetime.

​Each 20-ft containerised unit is capable of discharging 250kW output with a capacity of up to 1,450kWh, achieved through the stacking of individual 1.2kWh battery cells. Notably, NAS battery systems with a cumulative capacity of around 5GWh are currently operational worldwide, underscoring their versatility and efficacy across diverse applications.

​The deployment of NAS batteries extends beyond renewable energy integration, encompassing backup power supply and facilitating green hydrogen production. This strategic collaboration echoes a previous partnership between BASF, NGK, and South Korean power-to-gas company G-Philos, wherein NAS technology was utilised in green hydrogen production, with an initial order volume of 19.2MWh.

​The recipient of these cutting-edge energy storage solutions, HH2E, specialises in CO2-free hydrogen production, leveraging low-cost renewable energy generated during off-peak periods. Founded by managing director Alex Voigt, whose background includes leadership roles in the solar and energy storage sectors, HH2E aims to revolutionise hydrogen production while offering a fixed-price solution for diverse industrial applications.

​The establishment of the hydrogen plant in northern Germany aligns with HH2E's commitment to harnessing offshore wind resources, existing infrastructure, and industrial demand to drive sustainable energy practices. This endeavour underscores the pivotal role of innovative energy storage solutions in facilitating the transition towards a hydrogen-based economy.

​As the energy landscape evolves, initiatives such as the Baltic Shore project underscore the imperative of reconfiguring market dynamics to support the widespread adoption of green hydrogen. Sara di Mario, founder of energy transition advisory Hazel New Energy, emphasises the need for market rewiring to catalyse the adoption of hydrogen across industrial sectors, akin to the transformative impact witnessed in the solar and wind energy markets.

​The collaboration between GK Insulators, BASF, and HH2E epitomises the convergence of technological innovation, environmental stewardship, and industrial advancement. By leveraging NAS battery technology to enable green hydrogen production, this initiative heralds a new era of sustainable energy solutions, paving the way for a greener and more resilient future.

Source: Energy Storage News

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