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PKP Energetyka to build hydrogen storage at traction substation

May 13, 2022
Substations
Posted by Patrick Haddad

PKP Energetyka has begun work on an energy storage system based on hydrogen produced using energy from a solar farm at the Garbce traction power substation.

This is another step towards the development of a railroad based on renewable energy sources. PKP Energetyka has just signed a contract with a supplier of a set of components for the construction of this hydrogen system. The commissioning of this facility is scheduled for 2023.

The investment, worth over $675,000, will allow the production, storage, and use of“green” hydrogen for railroad purposes. What is significant is the fact that 100% of the element produced will be obtained by electrolysis powered by solar energy. The facility under construction as part of the R&D project is designed to corroborate the feasibility of using hydrogen storage solutions for powering railroads in the future.

The purpose of the system is to store all the energy produced by the solar farm and not used for current traction purposes. The hydrogen-based energy production and storage system will consist of an electrolyser that converts energy harvested from the sun into hydrogen, a hydrogen storage system, and a fuel cell that converts the hydrogen back into electricity.

According to the schedule, next year PKP Energetyka will be the first company in Poland to actually use this pioneering system of supplying the railroad with energy based on hydrogen from RES. It will allow up to 23 kg of hydrogen to be stored at one time with the power outputs of the individual components determined at 36 kW for the electrolyser, 20 kW for the fuel cell capacity, and about 150 kWp for the solar farm.

The produced element will be used in the development and research phase for PKP Energetyka’s own purposes, i.e. to supply the traction substation, but the solution implemented in the future will also have the possibility of powering the traction system. The technical design of the system also allows for disconnecting the filled hydrogen cylinders, so it can be used, for example, to power railroad vehicles of PKP Energetyka.

“At PKP Energetyka, we consistently put into practice our mission of “We Energize Polish Rail”. Our industry is currently undergoing an energy transition that we are pursuing primarily through the Green Rail programme. Its goal is to switch 85% of the railroad’s power supply to RES by 2030. Ultimately, we want the remaining 15% to be “green” as well, which is why we are successively investing in modern research and development solutions that bring us closer to this goal” says Piotr Obrycki, Director of the Research and Development Office, PKP Energetyka.

The implemented hydrogen system will be an important component of the traction power substation in Garbce. Together with the existing battery energy storage solution and the photovoltaic farm, it will create a unique ecosystem of interconnected and complementary facilities to generate and deliver dedicated energy for the railroad.

Source: PKP Energetyka

Photo (for illustrative purposes): Solar Farm Aylesford Kent / John K Thorne / Flickr / CC0 1.0

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