– Our research is related to the hot topic of the day, the hydrogen boom. Due to climate change, we need to shift away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible. We need a new energy system to replace them, says Senior Scientist Ville Saarinen from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
According to Saarinen, wind, water and the sun are all good energy sources, but the problem with them is that it is not always windy or sunny. Energy production varies according to the conditions. Energy needs to be stored for the calm and cloudy days. On the other hand, excess energy can be generated on particularly windy or sunny days, and this energy also needs to be stored.
Researchers at VTT have built a two-way mini power plant based on reversible solid oxide cell (rSOC) technology. It can help store electric energy. Whenever there is plenty of electricity available, the technology can store it as hydrogen. When there is a shortage of electricity, the technology can quickly be reversed: it can produce electricity from the stored hydrogen to stabilise the local grid.
– Accumulators can also smooth out individual negative spikes in energy, but in my opinion, hydrogen is the only storage option when building new energy systems, Saarinen explains.