Wind-to-gas integration

In August 2012, global power and gas company E.ON AG started construction of a pilot plant that will allow storage of wind-generated energy on Germany’s natural-gas grid. The forward-looking initiative represents an option for handling large energy-storage demands in the future.


E.ON AG’s pilot plant at Falkenhagen in northeast Germany will convert excess wind power first into hydrogen—which will be piped to and stored on the country's natural-gas grid. The plant is expected to produce approximately 360 cubic meters of hydrogen per hour through electrolysis, starting in 2013. Approximately 2 megawatts (MW) of wind power will be supplied to the plant. (This is Online Ref. 1 in the Nov. CE article, “Integrated energy storage systems.”)

Hydrogen fed into the gas pipeline system will be used like normal natural gas, according to E.ON. Presently, regulations allow adding up to 5% hydrogen to the natural-gas grid. For wider energy-storage potential, the next step will be to convert hydrogen into synthetic gas. This initiative would make the gas grid a power storage system for weather-dependent renewable energy sources, the company noted.

Demand for large-scale storage capacity will arise over the coming decades, when most generated power comes from renewable energy, according to E.ON. "We need new storage capacities so that we can further increase the share of weather-dependent wind power in our generation portfolio in coming years,” said Klaus-Dieter Maubach, member of the E.ON AG board of management. “E.ON is, therefore, investing in the development of technologies to store large energy volumes. In this respect, power-to-gas is a promising solution for the future energy supply system.”

Operating experience to be gained at the storage plant should provide valuable input for further initiatives in this technology sector. The Falkenhagen plant represents an investment of €5 million for E.ON AG. 

- Edited by Frank J. Bartos, PE, a Control Engineering contributing content specialist. Reach him at


See related articles, linked below.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.