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What is the purpose of the Jupiter 1000 project?
The Jupiter 1000 project is being led by GRTgaz. It is the first power-to-gas demonstrator plant to be hooked up to France's gas utility network. Power-to-gas plants convert renewably-generated electricity into either hydrogen or methane gas, which is then fed into the natural gas utility network. The 1 MWe plant will enable us to scale up from concept to a demonstrator plant of semi-industrial size. The project, which is unique in France, will also give us a chance to look at the performance of a complete unit, assess power-to-gas business models, and help establish a renewable gas production industry in France by 2030. The idea is to identify and resolve any technical, financial, or regulatory issues with the ultimate goal of reducing both the CapEx and OpEx of future plants.
How will power-to-gas be beneficial in tomorrow's energy landscape?
Power-to-gas uses renewable electricity to produce hydrogen via water electrolysis. The hydrogen produced can then be combined with CO2 to make synthetic methane using a process called methanation. These gases—hydrogen or synthetic methane—can then be fed into the gas utility network. This is one way to make better use of intermittently-produced renewable electricity. Transforming the electricity into gas—in other words, storing it as a renewable gas—brings greater flexibility to the electricity grid, a factor that is crucial to the uptake of renewable energy. Methanation is also a way to recycle CO2 captured from biomethane plants and other industrial facilities.
What role did CEA Tech play in the project?
Liten contributed its in-depth knowledge of methanation. In fact, Liten had developed a generic technology for a compact methanation exchanger-reactor back in 2013. We then brought the modular technology to a greater degree of maturity and transferred it to Atmostat, a company we are working with on this project. Under the Jupiter 1000 project, we validated scale-up and dimensioning of the reactor. The reactor's performance is currently undergoing validation testing at the CEA. Liten is also handling the technical, financial, and environmental assessments and will evaluate several operating strategies using the Odyssey platform, estimating syngas sales prices for several scenarios. We should start feeding hydrogen and syngas into the utility network by the end of 2018. The project includes three years of operation, during which we will continue to assess performance.
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.