The STORE&GO project as a reality lab exemplifies the integration of large amounts of renewable energy sources. Integrating such large amounts of renewable energy poses technological difficulties, as those sources, like wind and solar, are volatile and generate electricity intermittently. Thus, at times there will be a surplus of energy when there is no demand for it, and vice versa. Storing large amounts of electrical energy from renewable sourceswill enable countries to deal with long lasting periods without sufficient wind and sun available.
In order for the European Union (EU) to meet the assigned target of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 and by 80–95 per cent by the year 2050, the majority of fossil and nuclear energy must be replaced with renewable energy. As renewable sources tend to be volatile and generate energy intermittently, long-term storage will be required.
27 partner organizations and companies collaborate in the lighthouse project STORE&GO to integrate the power-to-gas (PtG) technology into the future European energy system. The project is funded by the European Union’s “Horizon 2020 research and Innovation programme” with 18 Million Euros as well as from the Swiss government with six Million Euros.
Benefits of power-to-gas
1. Provides crucial elements for tomorrow’s energy system
- In an energy system with large shares of renewable energy, PtG provides one of the most promising options to get to large-scale and flexible energy storage. The existing European 100 billion m3 underground storage capacity – corresponding to 25 % of the EU’s yearly gas consumption – is a crucial component for safeguarding energy security in a world that mostly depends on renewable energy sources.
- By its conversion and storage capabilities, PtG can add to balancing the electricity grid, and providing the back-up capacity needed to secure supply for the end-users, and stabilize the power market.
- In addition, PtG is an essential means to provide ‘green’ hydrogen and methane feedstockfor chemical industries, which today are completely dependent on fossil input.
- PtG enables the integration of ‘green’ energy into applications that are otherwise practically impossible to make green, including long-range road and maritime transport. The many applications make PtG an indispensable component for the coupling of energy sectors.
- The liquefaction of SNG, demonstrated in STORE&GO, provides ‘green’ liquefied natural gas (LNG), a high-density energy carrier which is easy to transport. Decarbonization can thus be carried not only into mobility but also into remote off-grid locations.
2. Provides a cost-efficient energy transition
- The CO2 neutral gas generated from PtG can easily be transported, distributed and stored in the existing gas infrastructure, consisting of the 2.2 million km European gas grid and storage units. It may be economically feasible to ‘convert’ electricity from renewable sources into gas and transport it via the existing gas grid to consumers, instead of building lots of new power lines to transfer energy. Hence costs for extending the electricity grids could be minimized or at least deferred.
- Since the existing gas infrastructure is compatible only with a minor share of hydrogen in the gas mixture, the consortium is convinced that in the long term it will be required to go the additional synthesis step from ‘green’ hydrogen to SNG.
- We can continue to use the existing European 200 million gas-based end devices, which account for 23 % of the EU’s final energy consumption; thereby carrying decarbonization e.g. into the heating sector – which is difficult to decarbonize – and avoiding the costs of exchanging millions of devices.