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The current enervis study “Renewable gases – a system update for the energy transition” outlines two energy supply scenarios in 2050. The “maximum electrification” scenario presents a comprehensive focus on the electricity market, while the “optimized system” scenario is fundamentally technology-open. In both cases, the clients, Bundesverband Windenergie e.V. (German Federal Association for Wind Energy) (BWE) and Initiative Erdgasspeicher e.V. (Natural Gas Initiative) (INES), are interested in how to achieve cost-effective greenhouse-gas neutrality.

One result of the analysis is that an environmentally friendly energy supply for industrial production is quite feasible with methane, since synthetically produced hydrocarbon chains are required in this case. In other words, in the feedstock segment, wherever fuels (currently predominantly petroleum) are not used to generate electricity but, as in the chemical industry, are used as raw materials in the process industry, the demand in the target year 2050 could be fully met by renewable gas, according to the study. That would mean a volume of 278 TWh of methane. Economically (i.e. including heat and transport), the study concludes a requirement of 930 TWh of renewable gases by 2050.

In terms of cost efficiency, power-to-gas solutions would be superior to power-to-liquid technologies with their “significant additional costs.” Another advantage of renewable gases is that they can be stored well and thus keep the energy supply flexible: “In combination with power-to-gas, gas storage tanks can provide this flexibility in a renewable way,” says Sebastian Bleschke, Managing Director of the Erdgasspeicher initiative.

Although the feedstock does not result in any direct CO₂ emissions, the end products, whether in waste incineration or in use, ultimately have an impact on the carbon footprint. It is interesting to examine the process industry insofar as the potential development for both scenarios (maximum electrification and optimized system) is identical because electricity is not an alternative in the feedstock sector. Incidentally, the 278 TWh forecast corresponds to the German Federal Environmental Agency’s assessment .