UK-based ITM Power has been awarded a grant by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to undertake a £100k (US$160k), 12-month engineering feasibility study of producing synthetic methane using carbon dioxide from industrial processes and hydrogen produced by electrolysis. The award is part of a £20-million (US$32-million) Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Innovation Competition.
ITM Power is leading a consortium which includes SSE, Scotia Gas Networks, Logan Energy Ltd and Kiwa Gastec at CRE (Gastec).
The process will convert waste carbon dioxide and renewable hydrogen to produce pure methane for injection into the gas grid and other natural gas substitution applications. The potential of the process for managing renewable power curtailment and exploiting onshore wind power assets will also be assessed.
Synthetic natural gas can be produced by a process known as methanation which is the reaction of carbon dioxide with hydrogen. The carbon dioxide can be sourced from industrial processes including CCS and the hydrogen can be produced from the electrolysis of water using renewable energy sources.
The production of synthetic methane in this way has the potential to make contributions to reducing the cost of CCS by creating revenue streams from the sale of methane, while the electrolysis plant offers grid balancing, stabilization and energy storage services to the electricity industry.