In 2015, 195 countries have signed the Paris climate agreement that aims at reducing global warming to 2 °C or in a best case scenario to 1.5 °C. To reach such targets, greenhouse gas emissions have to be reduced dramatically, as reflected in the EU’s ambitious climate targets. In order to meet these targets, energy production must come mainly from renewable sources. However, power supply from wind and solar will surpass demand at times – for instance, during sunny summer days – and vice versa. Energy has therefore to be stored to be made available when needed. This is where STORE&GO comes into play.
Long-term and large-scale storage demands for high energy density, low costs and little self-discharging. One option is to use power-to-gas “PtG”, which allows for storing power by producing renewable hydrogen or renewable methane. Funded under Horizon 2020 from 2016 to 2020, STORE&GO was running three pilot plants with different innovative power-to-gas technologies. On top of the technology demonstration, the 27 European partners were investigating the potential of PtG in the European energy grid.
The spirit of STORE&GO was nurtured not only by multinational but also interdisciplinary collaboration, which is required to meet the need for a great variety of expertise. “We are convinced that it is not sufficient to simply serve the public a powerful new technology,” highlighted Dr. Frank Graf (Head of department Gas Technology at DVGW Research Centre at Engler-Bunte-Institute of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)). “Instead, we need to analyse the strengths of PtG so that we can give precise recommendations regarding how and where to roll out this technology.” For this reason, the STORE&GO consortium involved large industrial players, innovative small companies, and research institutes, which jointly focused on reactor concepts, electricity grids, techno-economic studies, business development and legal aspects.
Each of the concepts being demonstrated at the three STORE&GO pilot sites involved new methanation technologies, and each was adapted to the respective demonstration site. The PtG plants are integrated into the existing power, heat and gas grids. This enabled the researchers to feed renewable methane into the existing natural gas grid in a climate neutral way without any restrictions. The synthetic gas can be made available for a wide range of customer applications. “The demo sites provide highly diverse testing environments, e.g. different climates and topologies; different grid types like transmission or distribution; different combination of solar, wind and hydro energy and different CO2 sources, including bioethanol, wastewater and directly from air,” Graf elaborated. “In this way, we can analyse and compare the advantages of PtG in various environments.”
Furthermore, the renewable gas generated by PtG can gradually replace fossil gas in all gas applications, especially in heating and transport. It thus helps to free the heating and transport sector from CO2 emissions. It also diminishes the need and costs for expanding the electricity grid as hydrogen or renewable methane can be easily transported in the existing gas grid. The results are presented on this site in form of a short summary in the Results section and in form of the Publications made in the project.