6-megawatt plant connected to the grid
Scientists and engineers at the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) are researching and developing an industrial scale Power-to-Gas method (P2G).The world’s first P2G plant has now been inaugurated in Werlte, Lower Saxony.
The upcoming commissioning of the 6-megawatt plant is the direct result of many years of research, development and demonstration of the Power-to-Gas method - P2G for short - at ZSW. “Construction of the plant in Werlte is another step towards the industrialisation of P2G. That a successful multinational like Audi is getting behind it, shows the importance of our technology,” explains Dr. Michael Specht, head of department at ZSW.
P2G is a storage procedure. In this process, hydrogen is initially produced from excess solar and wind power by electrolysis, then it is mixed with carbon dioxide and methanised. The resulting methane or synthetic natural gas can be stored for months loss-free in the natural gas network and converted back into electricity when needed. It can also be used as e-gas for powering CO2-neutral natural gas cars.
In 2009, the Stuttgart-based researcher and engineer team led by Dr. Specht successfully demonstrated that the P2G approach works perfectly: They constructed and operated a container-integrated 25kW P2G testing facility on behalf of industry partner ETOGAS (formerly SolarFuel), which has now built the P2G plant in Werlte for Audi. Three years later, the ZSW built a P2G pilot plant ten times more powerful in Stuttgart. The experience gained from its research operation will now be exploited in the Audi project. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment is funding the project.