Germany’s Energtrag Begins Construction Of Power-To-Gas Facility

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Originally published on Renewables International.
By Craig Morris

The German firm is adding a power-to-gas facility to its existing hybrid power plant. Deutsche Bahn is the first customer.

How will Germany store excess electricity seasonally? The question seems to be most popular among critics of the Energiewende, and indeed seasonal storage is the weakest point in the Energiewende strategy.

Yet, a solution is already available; it is simply highly inefficient if the gas created is used to generate electricity later. The losses will generally exceed 50 percent in that process. They are higher, however, for the electrolysis process alone, meaning that the gas itself is available as hydrogen at efficiencies up to 73 percent (so just over a quarter of the energy in the excess green electricity would be lost – see this report in German). Add excess carbon from biogas, and you create synthetic methane, which (unlike hydrogen) can be used in most natural gas applications without further ado. However, this process further reduces overall efficiency.

Now, Enertrag will begin creating green hydrogen from its hybrid power plant (wind, solar, and biogas – press release in German). The product will be sold in cylinders weighing up to 20 kilograms and sold all over Europe (one wonders what the transport losses are…).

Theoretically, the gas could be used in special applications much in the way natural gas currently is, so for cooking, as a motor fuel, a heat source, etc.

The company says it has already begun construction of the hydrogen filling facility, which is expected to be completed this summer.

Reprinted with permission.

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