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Renewable gases are a key to energy system transformation

Biogas has a special role to play within the framework of the energy revolution so that gas can be produced as a largely renewable energy source in the future. The Power to Gas technology also connects the gas and electricity networks.

Renewable gases; © Foto: DVGW, Roland Horn

Power to gas to the energy grid of the future

Power to X Technologies

The efficient production and integration of gases from renewable sources into the gas infrastructure is essential if gas is to become a sustainable energy source in the long term. Through integration, CO2 savings can be achieved in all sectors connected to the gas network. The DVGW regards the analysis and presentation of the potential of renewable gases as a high priority task. The current political framework conditions tend to hinder the integration of renewable gas into the natural gas infrastructure. Little has changed in this situation so far, although the potential societal benefit in terms of energy system
The efficient production and integration of gases from renewable sources into the gas infrastructure is essential if gas is to become a sustainable energy source in the long term. Through integration, CO2 savings can be achieved in all sectors connected to the gas network. The DVGW regards the analysis and presentation of the potential of renewable gases as a high priority task. The current political framework conditions tend to hinder the integration of renewable gas into the natural gas infrastructure. Little has changed in this situation so far, although the potential societal benefit in terms of energy system

Demonstration projects
Projecte for demonstration of Power to Gas technology
Demonstration projects of DVGW © Copyright DVGW

Demonstration projects play a central role in the development phase of a technology. For this reason, the DVGW supports the demonstration of applications for power to gas, for example through accompanying scientific research. The Power to Gas map will be continued as an existing DVGW instrument and expanded at European level. The DVGW cluster "Gas Generation and Energy Systems" is continuously monitoring the Power to Gas demonstration projects in Germany and Europe.

The EU-Horizon-2020 STORE&GO project is coordinated by the DVGW. It is the European lighthouse project for Power to Gas.

In this project, various methanisation technologies are being tested at three selected locations in Europe and demonstrated for use in the gas and electricity industries. A consortium of 27 partners is working on this project. The focus is on the demonstration of new technologies and the integration of power to gas plants into electricity and gas grids as storage and flexibility elements. Legal, regulatory, business, economic and social aspects are also taken into account in the project.

Power to Gas and Electrolysis
Power to Gas and elektrolysis
Power to Gas technology © Copyright DVGW

Power to Gas is the central technology for the demand-oriented integration of renewable electricity into our energy system and contributes to the decarbonisation of various sectors. At the centre of the developments are currently the preparation of a Power to Gas Roadmap, technology assessments and optimisations as well as the demonstration of the technology in practice.

With the ongoing and completed Power to Gas projects, we have succeeded in arousing interest in the topic among the public and in sectors close to the industry. The task now is to show the way to market launch and implementation - both on the supplier side and in practical application.

Here, too, the research work must be accompanied by accompanying studies and improvements in the legal framework. The following aspects are of particular importance for the Power to Gas Roadmap:

  • Presentation of the necessary adaptation measures in the grid and at customer plants for the long-term conversion to high hydrogen concentrations
  • Consideration of other economic sectors through sector tying
  • Standardization in electrolyzer production for mass production
  • Optimisation of feed-in sites with regard to the absorption potential of the gas network
  • Possible rededication of natural gas pipelines to (partial) hydrogen operation
  • Use of membrane technologies for hydrogen separation
  • Provision of CO2 for methanisation
  • Demand-driven optimization of power to gas plant operation and coupling with other renewable gas production technologies

An approval guideline for Power to Gas plants can create a sustainable tool to support decisions. This guide will be developed as part of the research roadmap.

The further optimisation of electrolysis and methanisation processes is also of great importance for power to gas technology - it entails improvements in functionality, cost reductions and economies of scale. Since the technological development and optimisation tasks are complex and cost-intensive research projects, these projects will be carried out in cooperation with the technology providers.

Biogases
Der DVGW unterstützt die Produktion von Biogas

Fermentative processes of biogas production have reached a high degree of technological maturity in recent years. In the meantime, about 9,000 biogas plants are operated in Germany. Current challenges in this area lie above all in improving market conditions. However, potential technological and economic improvements should not be ignored either - they are particularly evident in the processing and conditioning of biogas to natural gas quality.

Future options for biogas production from fermentative processes result from the additional use of the CO2 contained in biogas for power to gas processes.

These quantities can be used via the methanisation process - coupled with Power to Gas technology. In this way, the capacity of biogas production in Germany could be increased to around 20 billion cubic metres per year. This is to be underpinned by research work that must include process and safety assessments. For existing biogas plants in particular, Power to Gas Coupling offers a future option to ensure continued operation and avoid stranded investments.

The thermochemical production of synthetic natural gas (SNG) via biomass gasification is also of interest in this context. It makes it possible to expand the range of biomass that can be used and in principle requires larger plants with lower specific costs. With a view to stable operation of synthesis gas production, the focus here is on research topics in process technology and its optimisation. Due to the necessity of verifiability in practice, such projects will be in close cooperation with demonstration projects.