European cooperation on power-to-gas – new technology for smart grid?


Arnhem, the Netherlands — (METERING.COM) — April 29, 2013 – Power-to-gas (P2G) in which renewable power is converted into gas, is expected to play an increasingly important role in the future energy system by converting temporal surpluses of solar and wind power to gases such as hydrogen or methane.

To advance the development of the concept in Europe eleven companies have established the North Sea Power to Gas Platform as a joint body, based on an integrated network of stakeholders. Among other activities the Platform will explore the viability of P2G in the countries surrounding the North Sea area, and stakeholders will collaborate on research, development and demonstration projects.

“The establishment of the North Sea Power to Gas Platform is an important step in the transition towards a sustainable energy system”, says Lukas Grond, P2G expert at DNV KEMA and secretary of the Platform. “I am pleased that this group of reputed companies has joined forces to bring this technology a step further into the global energy market.”

Other members of the Platform are Fluxys Belgium and Hydrogenics from Belgium, and Maersk Oil from Denmark, Alliander, Gasunie and TenneT from the Netherlands, ITM Power and National Grid from U.K., and Open Grid Europe from Germany.

The technological concept behind P2G is considered an interesting option for enhancing the energy transition, with potential uses including utilizing the excess power from intermittent renewable sources, energy storage, both short term and seasonal, and long distance energy transport when the power transmission grid is inadequate. Further the gases can be used for different purposes including domestic heating, power generation and transportation, as well as feedstock for the chemical industry.

P2G is of particular interest for the North Sea area as its natural gas infrastructure is well developed. In addition, the combined generating capacity of offshore wind farms on the North Sea could reach around 100 GW by the year 2030, while the PV capacity installed in the countries surrounding the North Sea is expected to increase from 35 GW in 2012 to almost 60 GW in 2020.

The first field trial of P2G in the Netherlands is also in preparation by DNV KEMA and grid operator Stedin, and will involve the production of natural gas from surplus renewable power by residents of an apartment in the Rozenburg district of Rotterdam. The five-year project is due to get under way mid-year.