Several Belgian universities are working on a project seeking the possibility of the continuous production of renewable energy. The aim is to stock the surplus production of wind and solar energy for use in case of electricity shortfalls, explained UCL, one of the participating universities.
UCL, ULB, UMons, VUB, and UGent are cooperating on this project named FREE (Flexible eneRgy vEctors of the futurE), partly funded by Engie Electrabel and Fonds national de la recherche scientifique (FNRS). Specifically, the universities are working on chemical stocking; that is, the use of surplus renewable electricity for producing hydrogen through water electrolysis, which then allows the hydrogen to be employed on its own or to be transformed into methane, methanol or ammonium, fuels which may be stocked in liquid or gas state until they are needed, particularly during periods of energy deficits.
The FREE project seeks to develop a cogeneration plan based on chemical stocking which would feed a residential neighbourhood. Three research axes are to be developed: one concentrating on the studies already carried out on the production and storage of renewable energy, the other studying the efficiency of fuels in gas engines and the third dealing with the use of CO2 emitted by gas turbines.