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France building Jupiter 1000 1MW Power-to-Gas project; connected to gas network

The first Power-to-Gas project connected to the French gas transportation network—Jupiter 1000—is being built in Fos-sur-Mer. This 1 MW demonstrator will enable the transition from the concept phase to an industrial tool. The purpose of the project is to test the technical and economic viability of Power-to-Gas, by detecting and dealing with any technical, economic or regulatory difficulties, in order to reduce long-term investment and operating costs, and allow the deployment of a new wide-scale renewable gas production segment.

Coordinated by GRTgaz, this project involves a group of French partners with complementary areas of expertise: McPhy for electrolysis; Atmostat and the CEA (French atomic energy commission) for the methanation reactor; Leroux & Lotz for the CO2 capture technology; the CEA for the R&D; CNR for the supplying of surplus renewables and ensuring the future remote management of the facility; RTE for the processing of electrical data; and GRTgaz and TIGF to manage the injection into gas networks.

GRTgaz owns and operates more than 32,000 km (20,000 miles) of buried pipelines in France and 28 compressor stations to transport gas between suppliers and consumers.

Jupiter

McPhy will supply two electrolyzers—one alkaline, one PEM—to convert surplus renewable electricity into hydrogen. The project represents the first comparison of these two technologies on an industrial scale and under the same usage conditions.

The project will inject 200 m3/h of hydrogen into the gas network, and also run a stream of the gas through a methanation reactor where, with captured CO2, it will be converted to methane—which will also be injected into the gas transportation network.

Jupiter 1000 to due to go live in 2018. The project is co-financed by the European Union as part of the ERDF Fund, by the State in the framework of Future Investments entrusted to ADEME and by the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur Region.

McPhy offers a range of electrolyzers ranging from 04 to 400 Nm3/h (and above with several electrolyzers operating in parallel), over a range of pressures from 1 to 30 bar.

Comments

SJC

If you pay a lot for methane, have low cost renewable power and get the CO2 from land fill and water treatment it could work.

Max Reid

Good move, this will reduce the actual natgas imports.

Meanwhile in India, they are planning to promote Methanol stoves.

Thomas Pedersen

SJC,

A move like this, especially in France, is not driven by large commercial interest, or because there is a belief that synthetic methane will become cheaper than fossil methane any time soon.

Instead - in my view - it is driven by a belief that once synthetic methane has been demonstrated at a reasonable cost and with a path for further cost reduction, it will pave the way for a ban of fossil natural gas and move to synthetic nat gas for those consumers remaining.

It also doubles as an effective measure to get out from under the natural gas thumb of Putin or whomever succeeds him.

Don't forget, the Paris agreement was signed in France ;-) So they better do something about it.

Contrary to the US, there is an actual political will to do something about anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission in Europe.

For a gas company, this is also the natural way to go to 1) hedge your bets, and 2) stay relevant in a market where wind a solar dominate all new capacity being installed.

The world (or at least Europe) will need hydrocarbons as fuels for some processes (air planes) and as long term (seasonal and year-to-year) backup and storage of energy with near-100% renewable energy generation in the coming decades.

V2G will most likely soak up all energy storage demand for up to a week or so, once large-scale adoption of BEVs kick in. But for longer time-scales, I have seen no substitute for hydrocarbons, yet, in terms of storage-able, deploy-able energy source.

SJC

Whatever..

Engineer-Poet

V2G can't soak up a week's worth of energy demand.

Ponder an all-electric US fleet, 250m vehicles @ 100 kWh/vehicle.  That's 25 TWh.  The USA's average power consumption is about 0.45 TW, so you're talking a little over 2 days... assuming (a) all the batteries start out at 100% charge and (b) nobody drives anywhere.

V2G is excellent for grid regulation on a minute-by-minute basis.  At some point it becomes suitable as a buffer so that powerplants can be turned off instead of being required for spinning reserve (starting at about 15 minutes of reserve capacity).  A week?  Not happening.

As for P2G, there have been several pilots around the 1 MW level already.  If P2G had any potential, new efforts would be aiming at 10 MW or more and aiming for GW-scale in a few years.  This continued piddling around with a mere megawatt shows that everyone involved knows it's just greenwashing.

Thomas Pedersen

EP,

Of course, V2G can't soak up a week's worth of energy demand.

However, the storage demand is much less than the energy demand, because all renewable energy sources do not drop to zero for a week.

In my country the average house-hold power demand is roughly 10 kWh. It's not too far out to assume that BEVs 10-15 years from now will average a capacity on the order of 100 kWh, of which perhaps 20-30% can be used by the power utility company for storage, given the right incentives.

I guess I also left out the assumption that it will become more feasible to shift electricity consumption in time to catch most of the daily swings. A/Cs for instance could be fitted with cold storage to make the most use of cheap solar power in the middle of the day. Yes, that would require a larger compressor and higher power draw, making it particularly well suited along with solar panels on the roof. There are many options to time-shift energy consumption for change-of-temperature use on the time-scale of hours.

But then again, this might never happen because the house A/C constitutes a trivial power draw from a 100 kWh battery.

No doubt, going 100% (more likely 90%) renewable is much easier in Europe with denser population and better power grid. The giga-Watts that need to be moved has to move less distance and can be paid for by more people, using less electricity than in the US.

There is a techno-economical optimum between moving electricity from cloudy to sunny places and simply storing electricity locally for the period it takes the sun to come back.

Btw, Audi is doing the same P2G scheme to off-set the consumption of their compressed gas cars. Here we're really talking greenwashing because here the purpose is to count those vehicles as zero-emission (CO2) to enable sales of more A8 gas guzzlers without the European fleet average.

Engineer-Poet

Europe has the handicap of dense populations.  Diffuse energy sources like wind are good for a fraction of a watt per square meter of surface, so fewer square meters per capita limits how much total energy they can supply.

I'm surprised that Audi is going SNG and not H2FC; the FCs are cheaper to feed and more high-tech.

HarveyD

Power-to-Gas makes sense where you want to store (for short and long periods) large amount of e-energy form excess/surplus REs including nuclear and hydro.

The syn-gas produced could stored and/or be mixed with NG and used for heating/cooking and to produce H2 for FCs and FCEVs.

Well managed, a much higher percentage of REs, nuke and hydro production could be used on a 24/7 basis.

Engineer-Poet

Power-to-gas isn't "storage".  It's "greenwashed wastage".

Consider an advanced electrolyzer operating at 73% efficiency.  Producing 1 kg of H2 requires 46 kWh.  Reacting CO2 with H2 to make 1 kg of methane (50 MJ LHV) plus water requires 4 H2 molecules per CO2:

CO2 + 4 H2 -> CH4 + 2 H2O

This reaction requires .5 kg H2 (23 kWH) to make 1 kg of methane (50 MJ/13.9 kWh LHV).  Burn this methane in a CCGT at 60% efficiency and your net output is 8.33 kWh(e).  This is 36.2% round-trip efficiency, not including whatever energy you had to expend to capture the CO2.

When you're losing 64% of your input energy before you get it out again, you're doing more wasting than storing.

soltesza

@EP

In Europe, district heating is fairly common in cities. Thus, P2G efficiency can be calculated with the electricity -> gas > electricity + heat pathway (co-generation). That is up to 54% efficient according to wikipedia, not 36% as you quote.

40-50% efficiency is perfectly OK for seasonal/deep storage if the cost is right. RE generation is getting stupidly cheap, so P2G looks to become increasingly viable to me. Since most components needed for P2G is fairly low-tech and high-level of automation seems possible, capex and opex should not be prohibiting.

Given the fact the most of Europe already has fully built-out natgas infrastructure (lots of gas based generation assets + huge, full-winter-length storage), that should limit the necessary investment to the P2G generator plants themselves.

Engineer-Poet
P2G efficiency can be calculated with the electricity -> gas > electricity + heat pathway (co-generation).

That's only true if you need heat and electricity

  1. at the same time
  2. in the ratio produced by the cogen plant.

Any other time, you've got wastage of heat or loss of efficiency.  Turning electricity into heat at 100% efficiency is wasteful enough; turning it into heat at 60% efficiency at ridiculous capital cost is a crime.

RE generation is getting stupidly cheap

If that was true, German electric rates would be half of what they are.

HarveyD

Another solution is to do like a well know US eastern State is doing and build 2 new nuclear plants at $30 B (and probably a lot more before they are fully commissioned) and sell electricity @ around $0.30/kWh (with various government subsidies)?

After almost 15 years of design and construction, the final results will be very close to similar new nuclear sites being built in England, France, Finland etc.

Those examples may be enough to convince Japan, France, Germany, USA, China, Canada and many others to add more REs to remove/replace their older NPPs?

Ken

Even though the process itself looks horribly complex and inefficient the effort may still be worthwhile.

The cost of storing and distributing the gases is already paid; that infrastructure - already built - is a big, big, plus for NG or SNG in France.

But E-P is correct, you first must have the RE. And does France really want to repeat the German experience with wind and solar? And how much must the grid be changed to move the RE to specific sites where the SNG is generated.

Yes, in the US new nuclear plant costs are unbearable while construction never seems to end. That wasn't true fifty years ago either here or abroad.

HarveyD

Current 1000+ MW CPPs cost too much and take too many year to plan, develop and finish/commission.

The only way to beat higher unbearable NPPs construction cost may be with standardized updated, mass produced (factory built) smaller, transportable units.

The excess heat produced could be used to heat greenhouses, buildings, streets and sidewalks in snowy cold cities.

Engineer-Poet
in the US new nuclear plant costs are unbearable while construction never seems to end.

You can thank Democrats and "environmentalists" (watermelons in the pay of fossil-fuel interests) for that.  These problems do not crop up where politics isn't allowed to disrupt the process or second-guess decisions already made and contracts signed.  The failure of the V.C. Summer expansion is substantially due to one political actor, NRC commissioner Gregory Jaczko.  He forced the imposition of the brand-new aircraft impact rule on the two AP1000 projects in the US, forcing the redesign of the shield buildings and their foundations AFTER contracts had been signed.  Westinghouse (Toshiba) had its own issues with project management, but government meddling was no help whatsoever.

There are also four AP1000s under construction in China.  The first ones have already completed hot functional testing and will start early next year.  The S. Korean units under construction in the UAE are on budget and schedule.  Russian VVERs are much the same.  That's the difference between regulatory regimes.

That wasn't true fifty years ago either here or abroad.

Fifty years ago the motto of the Sierra Club was "Atoms Not Dams".  Then ARCO executive Robert Anderson bankrolled the founding of anti-nuclear Friends of the Earth, and the war of the fossil interests on nuclear was on.

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