Power-to-methane technology converts renewable electricity into synthetic methane gas, which can then be fed into the natural gas grid. The technology is already reliable, but not yet economically efficient. In order to produce this environmentally friendly energy on an industrial scale, its efficiency must be increased. HSR researchers intend to work on this in their new research facility, which has now been inaugurated by the Institute for Energy Technology (IET).
The IET is working on the High Efficiency Power-to-Methane Pilot (HEPP) research facility together with partners from industry, science and various associations. The researchers in Rapperswil in the canton of St.Gallen plan to start by making electrolysis more efficient. This process uses renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
“We plan to significantly increase the efficiency of the facility using high-temperature electrolysis and integrated heat management,” said project manager Luiz de Sousa.
The HSR regards the process as a solution to the challenge of long-term storage of renewable energy. In addition, the carbon dioxide required for the process can be extracted from the air. When the gas is later used, it releases only the same amount of carbon dioxide as was previously consumed for production.