Electricity from renewable sources is unfortunately not always generated when it is needed. Feasible, efficient storage solutions have thus proved to be the key criterion for the energy transition. While the automotive industry is researching vehicle-to-grid scenarios, a solution that uses the already existing gas network is becoming apparent in the rest of the electricity market: power to gas. The German Wind Energy Associatio n (BWE) and the Natural Gas Storage Initiative (INES) have already conducted a study showing that renewable gas could fully meet industry’s energy needs by 2050. The efficiency of energy conversion plants nevertheless continues to pose a problem.
Standard systems currently achieve a conversion efficiency of just over 50%. However, researchers directed by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have recently achieved high-temperature electrolysis and methanation with an efficiency of over 75%. Electrolysis at particularly high temperatures of around 800°C constitutes the essential advance. The Karlsruhe researchers are cooperating with partners from industry and research within the framework of the EU project HELMETH (Integrated High-Temperature Electrolysis and Methanation for Effective Power to Gas Conversion). Sunfire GmbH and the German industry association for gas systems DVGW are the German organizations significantly involved in the development.