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German power-to-gas facility opens green methanation plant; €28M STORE&GO project

A methanation plant expansion to the existing power-to-gas (PtG) facility in Falkenhagen, Germany has officially opened as part of the international €28-million (US$33.5-million) STORE&GO research project. Construction on the methanation plant began in July 2017. While the current facility feeds pure hydrogen (“WindGas”) directly into the gas grid, the new methanation plant provides for the generation of “green” methane.

In this second stage, hydrogen from regenerative energy sources is converted into methane (CH4), i.e. synthetic natural gas, using CO2 from a bio-ethanol plant. This constitutes an important contribution to the success of the energy transition, because green methane, in contrast to green hydrogen, can be used in a wider variety of ways.

STORE_GO-Grafik_RZ_mit_Tanklaster_20170829

It can be made available to a variety of markets, such as the manufacturing sector, the electricity, and heating market as well as the mobility sector. Moreover, it provides for unrestricted use of the natural gas infrastructure, including for transport and storage. This stored energy is then available as backup whenever there is an insufficient supply of solar and wind power.

The STORE&GO project brings together 27 partners from six countries to explore the opportunities for integrating power-to-gas applications into the European energy network and, in particular, to encourage the methanation of hydrogen as an important component of the energy transition.

The wind-to-gas pilot plant “WindGas Falkenhagen” was constructed in 2013 to store wind energy in the natural gas grid. The cornerstone for the methanation plant was laid in July 2017, and additional essential components were put in place directly alongside the existing facility. All work was completed on schedule.

The methanation plant produces up to 57 m3/h of SNG (synthetic natural gas, at normal pressure and temperature), which equates to an output of 600 kWh/h. The heat generated by the process is used by a nearby veneer plant.

The innovative, commercial scale facility was created in cooperation with the partners thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, the research center for the German Association for Gas and Water (DVGW), and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and will be in operation for analysis over the next 24 months. Dr. Christian Ehler, member of the European Parliament, is serving as sponsor to the project.

STORE&GO focuses on the integration of PtG into the daily operation of European energy grids to investigate the maturity level of the technology. Three different demonstration sites—Falkenhagen, Troia (Italy), and Solothurn (Switzerland) offer highly diverse testing grounds for PtG:

  • Available energy sources (high wind power; PV and hydro; PV and wind power)

  • Local consumers (low consumption; municipal region; rural area)

  • Electricity grid type (transmission grid; municipal distribution grid; regional distribution grid)

  • Gas grid type (long distance transport; municipal distribution grid; regional distribution grid)

  • Type of CO2 source (biogas; waste water; atmosphere)

  • Heat integration (veneer mill; district heating; CO2 enrichment)

Moreover, three different innovative methanation processes will be developed and improved from Technology Readiness Level 5 (TRL) close to maturity (TRL 6–7):

  • Catalytic honeycomb/structured wall methanation reactors

  • Biological methanation

  • Modular milli-structured catalytic methanation reactors

Comments

yoatmon

I'm convinced that Trump and his a...ole buddies will certainly find a "hole" in the PtG innovation because coal is more of a solid investment than a volatile synthesized gas.

HarveyD

A hand to Germany for finding/using another way to make better use of REs and CO2 from the atmosphere?

Countries with an abundance of low cost coal (USA, Russia, Australia, Canada and others) could find ways to use it to produce storable methane, H2 gas and relatively clean electricity?

mahonj

A very good idea. H2 is a lousy way to store and move energy, Ch4 is much better.
IMO, it doesn't matter where the carbon comes from. If you have CO2 from ethanol, well and good, else, use any source, like wood, even coal.

SJC

You go from hydrogen to methane to methanol to DME to gasoline, kerosene or diesel. This has been known for decades but still we are subject to OPEC whims.

dursun

Much better than H2. Methanol and/or DME even better.

SJC

Make bio synthetic jet fuel and diesel, reform it to hydrogen for planes, trucks, ships and cars. You end up with efficiency, no sulfur, no particulates and no NOx, ozone nor smog.

Engineer-Poet

It takes 4 moles of H2 plus 1 mole CO2 to make 1 mole CH4.

4 moles H2 is 1144 kJ HHV.

1 mole CH4 is 891 kJ HHV.

There are a LOT of losses in methanation, and this begs the question:  what supplies your CO2, and is it storable if you don't have the H2 supply to use it as it's produced?

The "green methane" scheme is a scam.

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