Africa’s First Wind Hydrogen System at Moroccan University Enables Excess Energy Storage

The Pure Energy Centre, Sahara Wind Inc. and Al Akhawayn University in Morocco have announced the completion of Africa’s First Wind Hydrogen System, which has been installed to enable the storage of excess wind energy. This technology presents a breakthrough in the ability of wind energy systems to be able to deal with intermittent wind and to store excess energy.

Sahara Wind Inc. of Morocco, coordinated the installation of a wind farm consisting of three wind turbines at Al Akhawayn University, which allows green energy the University campus to be powered by green energy. Due to the fact that at times there would be excess energy produced from the wind turbines (such as at night when energy production exceeded demand) which usually required the turbines to be shut down, the Pure Energy Centre was commissioned to design and install a hydrogen energy storage system. The aim of the system is to enable energy to be stored for future use when no wind generation was available.

The hydrogen system installed consists of a hydrogen electrolyser, a hydrogen store and a fuel cell. The hydrogen electrolyser is used to produce hydrogen from water. The electrolyser splits water into its two main molecules – using electricity its splits H2O (water) into H2 (hydrogen) and O2 (oxygen) molecules. The H2 gas is stored into a hydrogen tank while the O2 is vented to the atmosphere. In other installations, the O2 is also stored so that it can be used. 

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This cutting-edge project has been driven by Sahara Wind Inc. with financial support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation NATO under its Science for Peace and Security frameworks. As a result, Al Akhawayn University and Pure Energy® Centre, will see many Moroccan engineers accessing state-of-the art energy storage technologies.

Khalid Benhamou, from Sahara Wind Inc. said: “Renewables have one major issue in that they are intermittent. We have identified that we can reduce this issue by storing excess energy produced from renewables as hydrogen and thereafter reuse the hydrogen in a fuel cell for power generation. We feel that coupling wind and hydrogen will play an important role in Africa’s future through a variety of applications involving the continent’s main industries. The applications are indeed numerous: They range from powering telecommunications networks and green mobility (to be developed in partnership with local telecom and automotive industries) and extend to water utilities and mine processing industries. The latter would use hydrogen and other electrolysis byproducts such as chlorine as feedstock. We are therefore pleased that this project is a success and look forward to use green hydrogen for many applications.”

Khalid Loudiyi, from Al Akhawain University added: “The wind and hydrogen systems will be used for training, teaching and research. Our aim is to strengthen our research portfolio and to develop a number of hydrogen applications such as fuel cell vehicles, cooking and even heating as Al Akhawain University has been built at a 1600 meter height and winters are cold here. We are highly pleased that the wind hydrogen systems installation has been successful and look forward to a bright future for green energy and storage technologies in Morocco.”

As renewable energy technologies continue to expand worldwide, this type of energy storage will play an increasingly important role.

Source: Sahara Wind Inc.

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