Prof. em. Dr. Hanno Schaumburg, Hamburg University of Technology
In the framework of the more than 20 year-long cooperation between Turkmen and European Union partners with coordination from Germany in 2011 a 5 kW peak solar station was set up in the Turkmen State Institute of Transport and Communications with a 35 kWh battery backup.
Since that time practical applications have demonstrated that for a professional use under unfavorable weather conditions like in winter even such a large and expensive battery backup is by far not sufficient for the continuous operation of an autonomous solar station where typically an amount of 200 kWh backup is necessary.
State-of-the-art experience shows that presently the only commercially acceptable alternative is an energy backup using compressed hydrogen gas.
The equipment required for this technology – electrolysis of water with hydrogen tank storage and electricity production using fuel cells – due to new improvements in membrane technologies and mass production has reached a price range for a cost-effective use in commercial autonomous systems, where generally moderately higher electricity costs are acceptable.
This creates one of the first industrially attractive segments of the coming “green (using only renewable energy)”; hydrogen technology, which will be indispensable for a climate-neutral energy use (with largely reduced greenhouse gas emission) mandatory for the near future.
In view of the ample sunshine and considerable wind strength in many regions the climate conditions in Turkmenistan are well suited for the application of autonomous energy systems based on renewable sources and green hydrogen storage – that are essential for an autonomous energy supply in desert and steppe areas with no or little access to the public grid.
Presently in Europe strategies are developed to employ green hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel for the energy production in general: For this option – due to a lack of mere land space – the renewable energy production in Europe will not be sufficient with the consequence that an import from abroad of green hydrogen – transported through natural gas pipelines – is mandatory, possibly even from Turkmenistan. /// nCa, 31 March 2021
Prof. em. Dr. Hanno Schaumburg can be contacted at Hamburg University of Technology, Lohkampstr. 100, D-22523 Hamburg, Germany – Tel. +49-40-5708600 (Hamburg), +49-4641-8457 (Brarupholz 8), Mobile: +49 (0) 172 201 4036