The integration of electricity decentrally produced by photovoltaic and wind energy installations at different rates over time is a challenge for power grids. The Energy System Integration platform (ESI platform for short), which will begin operation in autumn at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI in Villigen, canton Aargau, is a test platform for promising approaches aimed at transforming and storing decentral and renewable energies.
Power-to-gas technology, as it is known, is at the heart of the ESI platform. This uses surplus electricity, which would overload the grids, to produce hydrogen and this can be used to produce methane either immediately or at a later date. Electricity is thus transformed into energy-rich gases. The benefits of hydrogen or methane are that the gases can be stored for a long time and transported over long distances. If necessary, they can be turned back into electricity or heat. The gases can, however, also be used as raw materials in industry or as fuel for vehicles.