The HyBalance plant in Hobro, Denmark, is one of Europe’s first facilities to produce hydrogen by proton-exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolysis on an industrial scale. It has successfully produced and delivered 120 tonnes of hydrogen since 2018. The plant has also demonstrated its ability to accomodate the intermittency of renewable energies production, thus contributing to stabilize the Danish electric grid. Air Liquide is already scaling up its low-carbon hydrogen business, notably in Bécancour, Québec (Canada) where the world’s largest PEM electrolyzer will be fully operational in the coming months.
The 1.2 MW HyBalance electrolyser has successfully demonstrated that producing hydrogen to store energy – including renewable sources – on a large scale is technically viable. Since its inauguration in 2018, the plant has proven to be highly reliable 24/7 and produced a total of 120 tonnes of hydrogen. Half of the production was delivered by pipeline to an industrial customer, while the remainder was distributed to other users, including a network of hydrogen stations for clean transport purposes.
The HyBalance plant contributes to regulate the Danish power grid. When renewable energies provide an excess of power compared to consumption needs, the hydrogen production can be maximized and stored; when a deficit of power is observed, the plant can consume less electricity. As the PEM electrolysis technology used in the HyBalance plant allows a power ramp-up and ramp-down of less than 10 seconds, the plant is certified by the Danish energy authorities as a bidder for all electricity markets.
Initiated by the Horizon 2020 HyBalance consortium, and supported by the FCH-JU and the Danish EUDP Program, this program launched in 2015 was successfully concluded in September 2020. Air Liquide will keep owning and operating the plant and HyBalance to supply hydrogen to its customers. Hydrogen will play a key role in the energy transition. Building on the successful operation of the HyBalance plant, Air Liquide will continue to grow its low-carbon hydrogen production.
Air Liquide’s commitment to hydrogen energy
In the past 50 years, Air Liquide has developed unique expertise enabling it to master the entire hydrogen supply chain, from production and storage to distribution and the development of applications for end users, thus contributing to the widespread use of hydrogen as a clean energy source, for mobility in particular. Air Liquide has designed and installed more than 120 stations around the world to date. Hydrogen is an alternative to meet the challenge of clean transportation and thus contributes to the improvement of air quality. Used in a fuel cell, hydrogen combines with oxygen in the air to produce electricity, emitting only water. It does not generate any pollution at the point of use: zero greenhouse gases, zero particles and zero noise. Hydrogen provides a concrete response to the challenges posed by sustainable mobility and local pollution in urban areas.
About the Horizon 2020 HyBalance consortium
Behind HyBalance is a consortium, led by Air Liquide, encompassing Cummins (former Hydrogenics), Centrica Energy Trading (former NEAS Energy), Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik, and Hydrogen Valley, which developed and deployed the project. The budget for the program has totaled €15 million, including €8 million in funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking, and €2.6 million in funding from the Danish EUDP program.