Europe, which lagged the dominant position in power-to-gas technology, has now advanced to a level where the technology helps the storage of surplus energy.
FREMONT, CA: In the race to achieve total clean energy production, the EU is striving to transform its energy systems by resorting to eco-friendly technologies. In a recent paper by the technical university of Regensburg, Germany, it was recognized that the EU is leading in the power-to-gas technologies with 153 projects, covering up to 80 percent globally.
Power-to-gas (PtG) is a method utilized to convert chemical bond energy, stored in a combustible gas into electricity, if the surplus electricity comes from the renewables. Nevertheless, if it is not used in certain suitable conditions, then PtG can help several European countries in achieving climate targets while utilizing the existing infrastructure. It is no surprise that the EU has invested more than €150 million ($165 million) to PtG projects in the past decade. Germany has been the world’s leader in the field of installed capacity of PtG with more than 40 megawatts (MW); followed by Denmark that has an installed capacity of PtG of 20 MW capacity.
Northern Europe has displayed a growing interest in PtG mainly due to reach the climate targets and to outgrow the technical complexities presented in the region in case of power distribution.
The proliferation of renewable energy has given rise to its challenge to the utility companies. Renewable energy is mostly produced from wind farms in the northern part of Germany and is mainly consumed in the south. Moreover, the production of electricity from renewable sources is susceptible to seasonal changes.
The surplus electricity produced by the seasonally available renewable energy sources is stored using PtG technology. It can avoid uneconomic investments to decrease the capacity of the already installed renewable plants.
The gas production market in Europe fell by eight percent in the past year forcing the EU’s dependence on natural gas to increase by 80 percent.
The PtG technology is considerably the best technology to convert electricity into hydrogen; almost 95 percent of this comes from wood or fossil fuels at present. The hydrogen produced can be used to pump into the gas infrastructure. However, this does pose a challenge, as significant restrictions need to be abided, as methane should be maintained as the dominant gas in the grid.