Soon Germany will be conducting another phase of its Energiewende (aka “energy transition” or “energy revolution”) with a power-to-gas research project. The large collaboration will consist of various institutes and companies. The goal of the project is to achieve a long-term energy storage system based upon a 100% renewable energy electricity scenario.
The power-to-gas (P2G) technology converts electrical power to fuel. It takes the excess power generated by wind generators, solar arrays, or biomass power plants and converts carbon dioxide and water into methane using electrolysis, thus enabling it to be stored.
The project is set to start in January 2014 and is expected to last two years. Some of the key players in this power-to-gas project include: “Etogas, juwi technologies, the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research or ZSW, the Reiner Lemoine Institute, and RWE Germany.”
It’s no secret that Germany is taken its Energiewende goals quite seriously and, if all goes well, this power-to-gas project may take Germany one step closer to achieving a 100% sustainable economy by means of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable development.
In order to analyze the potential of the P2G project, a model region will be examined by the research team. This model will allow the researchers to see how the storage technology handles a 100% renewable energy scenario.
The test facility will be located in Morbach im Hunsrück, in Rhineland-Palatinate, and will operate under real-world conditions.
“Many regions are already getting their daily electricity supply from wind and sun power. This is also being planned for the whole of Germany,” explained Gregor Waldstein, founder and head of Etogas. “We are testing our storage technology, power-to-gas, exactly for such a situation,” he added.
If all goes well, then the P2G project should be able to take the large quantities of generated electricity from renewables like wind and solar and store it for weeks at a time in the form of gas. This can allow it to be released quickly when demand calls for it.
This may allow the existing natural gas network to become a cornerstone for the renewable energy system, and provide storage and transport capacities which are not currently available in the power grid.