Largest methane production plant in the world goes live in GermanyNovember 1, 2012
New gas-to-power facility activated in Germany with a focus on methane
Germany’s Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wurttemberg has activated the world’s largest power-to-gas plant. The facility will serve as home to research regarding alternative energy and fuel production. The research facility will use solar energy to produce methane gas, which will then be added to the German natural gas grid. Though methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, it can be used in fuel cells to produce electricity, as an alternative to hydrogen.
Alternative energy foundation eyes methane as promising form of clean power
The Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wurttemberg was founded in 1988 in both Stuttgart and Ulm. The purpose of the foundation is to convert existing alternative energy technologies and strategies into market-ready products that can be used in the various industries within Germany. Over the years, the foundation has made strides in its work with solar energy and hydrogen fuel cells, successfully producing products that have been put to use in Germany. With the new power-to-gas facility now online, the foundation is ready to open a new chapter in its work with alternative energy.
Solar energy used to create methane gas from hydrogen
Solar energy is used to produce methane gas at the facility. A solar array located outside of the facility produces electricity that is used to electrolyze water in a pressurized alkaline electrolyser. This process produces hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then converted into methane through a chemical process. The facility is able to generate more than 300 cubic meters of methane gas each day through this process, making it the largest facility of its kind in the world.
Researchers hope to expand the facility’s capabilities in the future
The system is capable to respond quickly to the changes in energy demand coming from the German public, producing more or less methane as necessary. Researchers will continue to optimize the system and work to expand its capabilities. Currently, the system itself is capable of producing approximately 1 megawatt of electrical power. In the future, researchers hope to boost this to 20 megawatts.