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Power-to-Gas project awarded DECC grant funding

The UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) awarded 16 organizations a share of £2 million (US$3.1 million) to help develop innovative storage solutions for energy, as part of the £21-million (US$32.6 million) Energy Technology Demonstration Competition.

One of the projects to be awarded grant funding is the “P2G BioMet” project, led by Hydrogenics, along with consortium members CNG Services, Electrochaea and National Grid. Up to £40,000 (US$62,160) was made available to cover parts of the costs of developing a detailed feasibility study for a 1MW power-to-gas facility to be built in the UK starting in the second half of 2013.

The project aims to demonstrate the conversion of surplus electricity into methane for distribution via the existing natural gas grid; effectively storing electricity by making, then storing, methane.

The Power-to-Gas via Biological Methanation system uses surplus renewable electricity to split apart water (electrolysis), releasing hydrogen and oxygen. Using Electrochaea’s biological catalyst, the hydrogen is then combined with CO2 (e.g. from biogas) to produce methane that can be injected into the National Grid.

The overall project objective is to develop the world’s first integrated power-to-methane unit. The unit will combine Hydrogenics’ electrolysis technology with Electrochaea’s methanation process. CNG Services are supporting the Project in relation to site selection and engineering, especially with regard to gas grid injection.



It is a pity they can't find something to do with the O2 generated from hydrolysis - a lot of energy is wasted in the O2.
The trick is to turn the H2 into something useful - be it methane (as proposed) or methanol or use it to crack some longer chain hydrocarbons.


Oxygen-blown gasification is an obvious application.  But to gasify what?  Maybe wet municipal garbage, where the lack of heat-robbing nitrogen diluent would make the process energy-positive.  The purity of CO2 effluent would be a plus.


I have always wondered how you would size something like this knowing that you have a variable input. Do they build multiple small parallel processing units that can be turned on as variability occurs? Isn't the partial utilization of capital equipment part of the hurdle?


Around 100 million tons of O2 is produced annually (wiki), mostly by fractionated distillation. I expect they will be able to sell the O2 to hospitals or industry.


You'd get 100 million tons of O2 from 12.5 million tons of H2.  Compared to consumption of coal (~1 billion tpy in the USA alone), that's nothing.  It's obvious that any H2-based RE storage system which replaces coal would swamp all existing markets for O2, and new applications would be essential.


One more interesting way to store enough energy to make solar and wind power energy available 24/7 while producing NG and useful liquid fuels etc.

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