Power-to-gas technology to create synthetic natural gas for widespread use in transport, will contribute significantly to CO2 reduction in a cost-effective manner. This concludes the Frauenhofer institute, a renowned German research institute, in a study commissioned by NGVA Europe-member Etogas, which in 2013 delivered the largest power-to-gas installation to date to car manufacturer Audi.
The study concludes that if Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions are to be reduced by 75% to 82% compared to 1990 levels, which the German government is expected to announce next year in a long term policy plan, the commercial use of the power-to-gas technology would lower costs by 60 to 90 billion Euros. The necessary investments to develop power-to-gas capacities would be earned back in less than five years if CO2 emissions are reduced by 80%, and even quicker in case of a larger reduction.
Power-to-gas technology converts surplus electricity from wind power plants and solar plants into hydrogen, which can then be converted into renewable synthetic natural gas (methane) in a next step. A large part of this synthetic gas can be used to power the transport sector.
The study concludes that natural gas vehicles are the most cost-effective solution to reach CO2 reductions up to 81 percent, using a mixture of 45 percent fossil natural gas, 40 percent renewable synthetic natural gas and 15 percent biogas. ,,Very high CO2 reduction targets of over 82 percent’’, the institute writes, ,,favour an increasing share of battery power concepts, both gas/battery hybrid systems as well as battery only systems.’’
The institute points out however that it is unclear at the moment what exactly the development costs will be and concludes therefore that sustainable mobility in the future will most likely consist of different systems complementing each other.
The Frauenhofer study was commissioned by the NGVA member Etogas GmbH, the market leader in the development of power-to-gas technology. Etogas delivered the world’s largest power-to-gas plant to German car manufacturer Audi in June 2013. Generating 3 million cubic meters of renewable synthetic methane per year, the facility located in Lower Saxony is used to fuel 1.500 gas-powered Audis A3 g-tron with a total annual mileage of 22.5 million km.
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