Research project Power to Flex

Flexible energy supply based on energy storage

Forschungsprojekt Power to Flex

Europäische Union

Diverging supply and demand for renewable energies can be balanced out across the overall network. An alternative to this is decentralised use. The Power to Flex project was developing innovative pilot projects for storage methods on a small scale so that power produced directly in households and small business can also be used at flexible times as electricity, heat or fuel.

Research project Power to Flex



April 2017 until October 2019

Funded by

INTERREG V A Deutschland-Nederland

Project participants

  • Institute of Networked Energy Systems
  • Provincie Groningen
  • Provincie Drenthe
  • Hanze Hogeschool
  • Hochschule Emden/Leer
  • Oldenburger Energie Cluster OLEC e.V.
  • Stadtwerke Emden
  • 3N Dienstleistungen GmbH
  • Jaske & Wolf Verfahrenstechnik GmbH
  • PLANET - Planungsgruppe Energie und Technik GbR
  • Nordwest Gruppe
  • Oosterhof Holman
  • Bioclear B.V.
  • Cedel
  • Holthausen Groep
  • Energy Company
  • Adverio Engineering

Flexible storage options are required in order for households and small businesses to be able to use the power that they produce directly as electricity, heat or fuel at any time. The Power to Flex project used test facilities to illustrate how residential and commercial units can become independent standalone energy sources. The Institute of Networked Energy Systems was involved in two sub-projects for this initiative supported by the INTERREG Germany-Netherlands programme of the European Union: the development of a small hydrogen fuelling station and optimisation of an electrolyser.

Both of these focal areas converted surplus power into hydrogen. This chemical storage system has one crucial advantage compared with a traditional rechargeable battery: the energy is available over the long term, meaning that seasonal fluctuations in production can be balanced out. This allows solar power to be used in winter and wind power form the darker half of the year to be used in summer.

Forschungsprojekt Power to Flex
If the aim is to power a fuel cell vehicle, the hydrogen must meet high quality criteria. Therefore the Institute of Networked Energy Systems developed a "fuelling testing module" for the Power to Flex-Project, which is able to detect contaminants and moisture in the gas.

As fuel for mobility, hydrogen must meet high quality criteria. Contaminants and moisture in the gas can only be tolerated to a limited extent if the aim is to power a fuel cell vehicle, otherwise the fuel cell's catalysers will suffer. In order to guarantee its potency and long-term viability, locally-produced hydrogen must be tested for purity. The Institute of Networked Energy Systems was developing a "fuelling testing module" for this purpose that holds 50 litres of compressed hydrogen and maintains a pressure of 700 bar. This allows gas samples to be taken during the testing phase that can be sent to the laboratory for analysis.

As part of the second project, the Institute was studying an electrolyser for hydrogen production in order to develop new storage methods directly in households. The method of operation has a considerable influence on the potency and long-term viability of the hydrogen. In order to determine the optimum operating method, the electrolyser was analysed at test benches developed in-house that can simulate a household's variable production and load profiles. This allows an entire year to be simulated in the laboratory within the space of just a few weeks. The data acquired allows the durability of the cells and membranes in the electrolyser to be extended by adapting the operating method to the individual circumstances.


Sector Integration – Mobility

Research Group
Institute of Networked Energy Systems