Speeding innovation for industry
The first-ever power-to-gas demonstrator unit built on a CEA technology was commissioned in September 2018 at Polish energy company Tauron*. The methane-producing plant comes just a few months ahead of Jupiter 1000, another large-scale power-to-gas demonstrator in the works in Fos-sur-Mer, France, which leverages the same technology: a compact milli-structured plate reactor developed by Liten, a CEA Tech institute.
Power-to-gas—which offers the advantage of being able to store surplus energy as gas—is expected to play a role in facilitating the integration of intermittent renewable energy into our grids. Here's how it works: Surplus electricity is used to produce hydrogen via a water electrolysis process. The hydrogen then reacts with CO2 in a methanation reactor, producing synthetic methane. The methane can either be injected back into the grid (the case for the Jupiter 1000 demonstrator) or used to fuel gas-powered vehicles (the case for the system recently commissioned at Tauron).
The methanation reactors were designed using models developed and validated at Liten labs. They were then manufactured by Atmostat using a hot isostatic pressing process developed at LACRE, a joint lab between the CEA and Atmostat financed in part by France's National Research Agency (ANR). The large-suitcase-sized CO2-SNG-R reactor delivered to Tauron in Katowice was developed especially for the unit. A modular design allows the reactor to be assembled to achieve the desired power output. The initial results show CO2 conversion rates in excess of 97%, a success by any measure!
*Demonstrator co-financed by EIT/InnoEnergy and the associated manufacturers
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.