Stadtwerke Mainz, Linde, Siemens and RheinMain University of Applied Sciences are going ahead with a water electrolysis pilot plant in Hechtsheim, with financial support from the German Ministry of Economics and Technology under its energy storage funding initiative. Construction of the 17 million euro facility, called Energiepark Mainz, is planned to start in spring 2014, with completion in 2015. Hydrogen generated from wind power in a Siemens-developed proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis system will be stored, transported to hydrogen filling stations or fed directly into the natural gas grid.

Adoption of storage systems like this is "absolutely essential if the energy turnaround is to make further progress", says the Stadtwerke.

The Mainz plant will have a potential power intake of 6 MW, "making it the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis facility using modern PEM technology", say its developers.

Meanwhile, ITM Power, plus its partners, Mainova Aktiengesellschaft and NRM Netzdienste Rhein-Main GmbH (both part of the Thüga Group), have announced first injection of hydrogen into the gas distribution network from their 315 kW input PEM facility in Frankfurt.

Gas mixing plant ensures that the proportion of hydrogen in the natural gas stream does not exceed 2% by vol, the maximum permitted with a filling station in the network.

The ITM system operates at 3.5 bar, avoiding the need for a compressor.