The HELMETH (“Integrated High-temperature ELectrolysis and METHanation for Effective Power to Gas Conversion”) project, coordinated by Karlsruhe Institue of Technology (KIT) is targeting power-to-gas (PtG) system efficiencies of more than 85% through better synergies with existing process steps. Power-to-gas (e.g., Audi e-Gas) uses renewable electricity for the production of hydrogen and then methane.
Renewable power is used for electrolysis to decompose water into oxygen and hydrogen. Then, hydrogen reacts with carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide to produce methane, which can be used seamlessly in the existing natural gas infrastructure facilities. Injection of hydrogen would possibly require an increased adaptation expenditure for transportation and application, as the energy density and chemical properties differ considerably.
Electrolysis and methanation are often analyzed and optimized separately, notes Dimosthenis Trimis, KIT. However, use of the process heat produced by methanation has a potential for use in electrolysis; high-temperature electrolysis at about 800°C is associated with thermodynamic advantages that increase efficiency.
The 3-year, €3.8-million (US$5.25) HELMETH project will start with a kickoff meeting of the project partners at the KIT this week. €2.5 million comes from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) for the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative.
HELMETH is the acronym of KIT’s project partners are the University of Turin, the Technical University of Athens, the companies of Sunfire GmbH and Turbo Service Torino S.P.A, the European Research Institute of Catalysis ERIC, and the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW).