Storing eco-energy as gas

The technology for the 25 kW plant was developed at the research institutes ZSW (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research) and the Fraunhofer IWES (Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology).

The transformation of eco-electricity into methane takes place by means of electrolysis. In the first stage, water is split into its components hydrogen and oxygen. After that, the hydrogen reacts with carbon dioxide to produce methane. Since methane is the main component of natural gas, it can be fed directly into the existing public gas network. "The technologies of the markets for electricity, heat and mobility are thereby linked with one another", explains Michael Specht, Head of the Department "Renewable Fuels and Processes" at the ZSW. Because the German natural gas network is very well-developed and has a large capacity, this technique is feasible as a long-term solution. The methane can, when required, be reconverted into electricity in large gas-fired power stations.

In addition, it is possible to convert the methane into fuels such as kerosene or a diverse range of basic chemicals as raw materials for the chemical industry. The pilot project in South Germany will combine a wind farm, a biogas plant and a solar fuel plant.

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