Technology Breakthroughs Shaping the Future of Power-to-Gas
Power-to-gas is a concept to convert surplus of electricity either from renewable or conventional sources to chemical energy. The main purposes of the conversion are to store excess generated electricity, stabilize the power grid, or redirect excess electricity toward other useful applications.
There are two major processes in power-to-gas—electrolysis process and methanation process. The electrolysis process is to convert electricity to hydrogen, while the methanation process is a method to produce synthetic methane (by combining hydrogen generated from the electrolysis process with carbon dioxide).
There are three types of electrolysis process, namely, alkaline, proton exchange membrane (PEM) and solid-oxide electrolysis. Alkaline and PEM electrolysis processes are already commercialized, but solid-oxide process is still in research and development (R&D) phase. R&D trends for electrolysis is shifting towards building a high-performance and low-cost process by creating advanced electrocatalysts and thermally stable materials at high temperature.
The methanation process is mainly of two types—thermocatalytic and biological methanation. Thermocatalytic methanation is already commercialized while biological methanation is still at pilot stage. The major R&D theme for methanation process is to develop a high performance catalyst.
Hydrogen or methane produced from electrolysis or methanation process in power-to-gas systems can be converted back to usable power by stationary fuel cells, internal combustion engines or a combined heat power (CHP) system.
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