Researchers shed light on the potential of storage technologies

Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute have worked jointly with colleagues from six other research institutes to analyze the potential of storage technologies for surplus renewable energy sources. The findings are set out in the “Power-to-X” white paper.

White paper page.
Graphic: Paul Scherrer Institute/Joerg Roth

The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI explains in a press release that power-to-X technologies are processes with which surplus electricity from new renewable energy sources can be converted into hydrogen, methane, or methanol. Its scientists have joined forces with colleagues from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, the Zurich University for Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HSR), the University of Geneva, and the University of Lucerne to prepare a white paper on "Power-to-X". The study prepared for consideration by the Swiss Federal Energy Research Commission (CORE) sheds light on what contributions power-to-X technologies could make to Switzerland's energy strategy.

The results of the study show that the recovery of electricity from energy sources such as hydrogen or methane is currently still very expensive. "But the costs of such so-called Power-to-Power processes could decrease by as much as two-thirds by 2030, thanks to advances in technology and increasing experience with these new technologies", says Tom Kober, head of the Energy Economics Group at PSI. The replacement of fossil fuels with fuels produced in power-to-X processes will only be economically viable “if appropriate environmental incentive mechanisms come into play”. Researchers conclude that “for Power-to-X to be applied successfully within the framework of Energy Strategy 2050, it is essential to concentrate research and innovation on the optimal integration of Power-to-X into the overall energy system of Switzerland”. They will present the results of the white paper on July 8th at an event held at ETH Zurich.

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