E.ON and thyssenkrupp announced that they are cooperating for the efficient industrial production of hydrogen to help pave way integrate green electricity into the energy system. Thyssenkrupp’s large-scale electrolysis plants can now be linked to the electricity market in Germany via E.ON’s virtual power plant, making the plants “electricity market ready”.

This marks another green hydrogen production milestone for thyssenkrupp, following the company’s recent announcement that it had significantly increased its manufacturing capacity and can now annually produce electrolysis cells with a total power consumption capability of up to one gigawatt.

The principle of the new system is that if there is a high demand in the power grid, the plant will shut down hydrogen production so that the energy required for electrolysis is available to the public power supply. Conversely, hydrogen production is ramped up if more energy is fed into the grid than can be distributed.

This innovation makes so-called Power-to-X systems more attractive for the industry. The operator of a plant can market his willingness to adapt flexibly to general electricity demand and thus generate additional income on the electricity market.

E.ON’s Virtual Power Plant software platform automatically controls the process, linking various mostly industrial producers and bulk purchasers of energy and controlling the generation and consumption of these customers according to the current network load. By doing so, the Virtual Power Plant makes a significant contribution to compensating for the fluctuating electricity production from renewable energy in the power grid.

thyssenkrupp and E.ON successfully tested the system at the Carbon2Chem pilot plant with a capacity of up to two megawatts in Duisburg. E.ON has also checked that the plant meets all the requirements for participation in the balancing power market. Due to the high reaction speed of the thyssenkrupp plant, the technology can even participate in the market for high-quality primary control power. This was tested with the transmission system operator successfully.

The companies also announced that they are now cooperating on marketing. Effective immediately, thyssenkrupp is marketing the Power-to-X technology with the additional option of coupling the system to the virtual power plant. E.ON offers customers the option of operating the power plant optimized for the power market.

Stefan Hakansson, Global Director City Energy Solutions and CEO E.ON Business Solutions, said:

“The cooperation with thyssenkrupp follows our principle that the conversion of industry to clean energy must be essentially economical. With our expertise in all aspects of the energy market, we are also succeeding in breaking down a barrier to the sensible use of hydrogen to generate electricity.”

Christoph Noeres, Head of Energy Storage & Hydrogen at thyssenkrupp, added:

“We have achieved another important goal. Previous tests had already shown that our electrolysis plants produce green hydrogen with high efficiencies. At the same time the plants are responsive and flexible enough to participate in the balancing energy market. Our plants thus make a decisive contribution to a stable power supply and at the same time make a significant contribution to the economic efficiency of green hydrogen.”