Denmark is the most developed wind farm economy in the world, but even in Denmark the wind farms rarely produce enough energy to meet the daily troughs of demand. It is not that wind isn’t powerful enough to take care of all of our needs, it is that it is simply not always blowing at the right time.
For private households the solution is often net metering, i.e. being connected to the grid and sending surplus energy back to the supplier and get paid for it. On a larger scale however, wind energy will only then become a serious energy alternative for everyone when there is a way to store it in large amounts!
In Sheffield, England it seems that a company has found the solution. The company is ITM Power and their show house is what they call the home of the future. It is powered by solar panels the size of 2 table tennis tables, which could alternatively be a wind turbine. The house is powered everyday, despite rainfall or night time. And whilst it’s raining there is little useful energy produced.
The energy comes from previous days production. The energy that has been produced has been through an electrolysis machine. The electricity met water and the H was separated from the O in the H2O. That hydrogen was passed into a not very large gas canister and now the gas is being used to run a generator, an old fashioned combustion engine that produces the electric current to the home.
What ITM has come up with is a secret recipe that allows the process of electrolysis to happen at a fraction of its typically very expensive cost.
ITM’s vision is to to embed it’s technology in small communities in which turbines or solar panels create the power and the hydrogen is produced and stored locally and distributed by traditional wires or pipes into homes.