This is the beginning of a new era in the history of Hungarian hydrogen economy, said Hungary’s Energy Minister Csaba Lantos on Tuesday at Kardoskút where Hungary’s first hydrogen production plant was handed over.
The Hungarian Gas Storage (MFGT) launched the Aquamarine project back in February 2021 with the goal of taking the first step towards the widespread use of hydrogen storage technology.
The pilot project involved the construction of a 2.5-megawatt (MW) electrolyser and the corresponding hydrogen gas preparatory technology at the Kardoskút Underground Gas Storage Facility. At the end of last year, the electrolyser units were installed in their final location.
By operating the electrolysis equipment, the surplus electricity generated by renewable energy sources can be used to produce hydrogen by the decomposition of water. The hydrogen produced this way blended with natural gas can be utilised within the own gas-operated equipment of MFGT, reducing this way its CO2 emissions. Later on, natural gas blended with hydrogen could potentially be injected into the gas transmission system supplying end users.
The ultimate goal of the project is to provide an interim storage for excess electricity generated by renewable energy sources that is available later for dispatch when demand is stronger.
The CEO of MFGT, Ákos Kriston said he hopes that in September, in the framework of the Aquamarine Plus, they can already start pilot projects of converting hydrogen into electricity, storing it in a liquid, and developing processes that can be sold on the market. As for now, they can produce 400 cubic metres of hydrogen per hour in small quantities, he noted.
Hungarian Minister for Energy, Csaba Lantos pointed out that Hungary will most definitely surpass the 6.5 gigawatts (GW) target of solar capacity by 2030. According to estimates, the country can reach 10 gigawatts (GW) by the end of the decade. At the same time, the average power consumption of Hungary is around 6,000-6,500 MW, which means that the surplus must be stored in batteries or in another form.
Currently, Hungary has 25 MW of industrial-scale batteries, which leaves an ample opportunity for the development of other storage technologies, such as hydrogen, the minister underlined. He also noted that although Hungary’s total primary energy consumption will tend to decrease in the coming decades, its structure is changing. Currently, electricity consumption accounts for approximately 20 per cent of the total energy consumption, which may increase to 50 per cent in the future.
The CEO of state-owned MVM Group, the parent company of the project owner MFGT, welcomed the investment as a decisive step towards the country’s carbon-neutral future that showcases the utilisation of surplus electricity. The total cost of the project was 5.6 billion forints (25 million euros), half of which was secured in the form of state aid.