Solid as a Rock:
The Importance of Gas Storage Plants is Growing
Renewables are all the trend in some European countries. Depending on the weather, however, they can be real drama queens. To prevent bottlenecks, grids are increasingly being fed with electricity produced by gas. As such, gas storage is becoming an important issue. For they can also store excess energy, and feed it back in when consumption rises. In unstable times, such storage facilities are as solid as a rock.
It is indisputable that demand for natural gas is rising in Europe - especially during transition phase away from nuclear power and CO2-intensive forms of energy. According to the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen (AG Energiebilanzen, Working Group on Energy Balances) natural gas consumption in Germany, for example, had a share of 20.9 percent in the total energy mix, by 2016 it had risen to 22.6 percent. With a growth of 9.5 percent, gas belongs to the span winners in primary energy consumption, while renewables came in second with 2.8 percent.
EU to import more gas
Gas supply is an important topic in nearly the whole of Europe. "In the future, the European Union will have to import more and more natural gas to meet demand in the home market. Therefore demand for additional natural gas tank farms is growing," explain the companies Astora and EWE, project partners of the Jemgum natural gas storage cavern.
Gas storage will play a central role in securing the energy system transformation project, "as it is the only way to chemically store excess energy from renewables - wind and sun - in the form of hydrogen or green methane and secure the fluctuating balance," states Maurice Walter, head of sales and services, Hartmann Valves. Or, in other words: if the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining, gas compensates the power fluctuations of renewables. "Storage ensures stable levels of availability and flexible usability of the energy source," emphasises Astora.
Store gas in summer
The German storage facility Wolfersberg makes an important contribution. In summertime, excess gas imports are stored in the storage facility located in Upper Bavaria, and in wintertime it is fed into the gas grid. Wolfersberg has a maximum storage capacity of 140,000 Nm³/h, a maximum withdrawal capacity of 240.000 Nm³/h and a working gas capacity of 365.000.000 Nm³. Capacities, that actively supply energy to the metropolis Munich.
However, old shut-off valves had to be replaced in the natural gas storage facility Wolfersberg, which had been put into operation in 1973. In order to ensure an extremely high level of safety and maximal availability, Hartmann Valves developed highly compact twin ball valves, which are not only extremely gas-tight, but also solved the problem of limited space. They fulfil an important duty for the facility: "We must be able to isolate every part of the plant which needs to be repaired or maintained. Two shut-off valves with the possibility to bleed off pressure in between serve as isolation. Thus, we ensure 100% that no gas enters the area concerned," states operations manager Markus Schuster, DEA.
Images: R. Eberhard, messekompakt.com, EBERHARD print & medien agentur gmbh
Source: Messe Düsseldorf