Uniper Adds Methanation at Power-to-Gas Unit
German energy firm Uniper said its 2014-opened 2-MW power-to-gas (PTG) plant in Falkenhagen will soon be supplemented by a methanation plant, for which a foundation-laying ceremony was held July 6 attended by government, technological and local officials.
The existing plant, which can produce 360 m³/hr of hydrogen, already has the capability to feed small amounts of hydrogen (produced by electrolysing water with spare renewable electricity) directly into Germany's natural gas network.
The new methanation unit, scheduled to be completed in spring 2018, will be able to convert that hydrogen to methane by adding CO2. However such new projects are not cheap – Uniper did not disclose costs – and co-funding is coming from the EU's Store&Go energy storage fund.
This methane is synthetic natural gas, which can be transported from storage and pipelines as required in existing natural gas infrastructure. It thus functions as a form of battery, enabling energy (electricity and gas) to be stored for subsequent use in heating, industry, transport and power generation. Uniper says Falkenhagen in Brandenburg, near Berlin, is ideal as there is good wind-generation capacity and gas infrastructure already in place.
It says the new methanation plant will be built right next to the PTG plant and consists of several components: two different prototype catalytic reactors for methanation are being installed and will be tested during the project. Up to 57 m³/hr of synthetic natural gas will be produced – an output equivalent to 600 kWh/hr – in addition to which the heat generated during conversion will be supplied to a nearby manufacturing plant.
A week ago, Gasunie announced it was to build a 1 MW PTG unit in Zuidwending, northern Netherlands, while France and others are looking at PTG.