At the heart of the STORE&GO project were the three demonstration facilities. The facility at Troia, Italy, combined a micro methanation reactor (Khimod-Alcen) with a innovative liquefication unit. The required carbon dioxide was generated through a direct air capture unit (DAC) capturing and utilising the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere. Beginning from April 2019 the facility in Troia produced liquefied renewable gas (LRG).
Following are the operation data of the Troia plant during the course of its runtime in the project.
|Operating hours||1142 h|
Due to the innovative character of the overall process chain in Troia and the relatively small capacity of 0.1 MW SNG output, a huge potential for energetic improvement exists. During the project, an overall PtG efficiency of 29 % was reached. It has to be considered that the DAC and the liquefaction of the SNG had a comparably high energy demand. Due to the recycle of lean gas to the front of the methanation unit, the overall conversion of CO2 and H2 is in the range of 99 %. A methane content of 96 % in front of the liquefaction was reached. It was also shown that the process could be operated dynamically from 20 – 80 % of load with a load change rate of 5 %/min. By heat integration and energetic optimization of the process units, an overall PtG efficiency of 46 % could be reached. Due to the DAC in Troia, the potential for internal heat usage is very high. In combination with the liquefaction, the process chain of Troia can be operated more or less stand-alone and does not require a connection to the gas grid or a nearby heat sink.
On September 27, 2018, about 50 people gathered in the Southern Italian region of Puglia to celebrate the start of the testing phase of this innovative plant concept. The location area around Troia is characterised by intense solar radiation and therefore by high PV production capacities and has excellent wind potential to generate wind power. This renewable power is used in an existing electrolyser, which was established by the EU supported INGRID project (www.ingridproject.eu), to generate hydrogen.
Within STORE&GO, the existing unit was extended by a methanation reactor where the renewable hydrogen generated on-site is catalytically methanated using CO2. A special feature of the pilot methanation plant is the CO2 capture technology. This absorbs and captures the required CO2 directly from the atmosphere, thereby closing the carbon cycle.
Also remarkable is a small-scale gas liquefaction unit that chills green gas to a temperature of –162 °C into a liquid state, converting methane into liquefied renewable gas (LRG). This fuel is carbon neutral and can be transported and distributed to customers by truck. This makes the plant independent from pipeline access. LRG can replace fossil LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) as a green transport fuel for heavy-duty trucks or ships.
The current plant, inherited from the INGRID project, produces hydrogen that now is combined with CO2 captured from the atmosphere to generate methane.
About 40 people (citizens, students, researchers, small and medium enterprises) attended this event, which started with welcoming the attending guests by Leonardo Cavalieri (Mayor of Troia). Massimo Bertoncini (Engineering I.I. S.p.A) and Carlo Gadaleta Caldarola (Project Manager at Apulian Agency for Research, Technology and Innovation (ARTI)) followed as speakers and praised the importance of the location Troia for the community and highlighted the importance of the demonstration plant to showcase the potential of power-to-gas. Most of the technology providers took part of the event: Philippe Bucci (Atmostat-Alcen), Genevieve Geffraye (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), Andres Saldivia (Hysytech), Alexandru Morosanu (Politecnico di Torino), Alessandro Rossi (Engineering I.I. S.p.A), Benjamin Keusch (Climeworks), Danilo Pomponio (Studio Tecnico BFP). They attended to a really interactive questions&answers section. The event was held in a theater recently renovated and subsequently, the major representatives moved to the demo site where they showed on a poster the 3D rendering of the STORE&GO plant.
The Italian demonstration site has been realized at Troia, a municipality in the region of Puglia. In this region high PV production capacities are available representing the South European RES situation. The innovative concept at this demo site consists of
- capturing of CO2 from ambient air
- modular micro-reactor based methanation concept
- a “small-scale” liquefaction to supply LNG to a dedicated cryogenic tank
- an optimized energy management able to follow a proper set of business and strategic objectives
The plant exploits the hydrogen produced by the electrolyser inherited from the INGRID Project (http://www.ingridproject.eu/), connected to the MV power grid and able to be controlled with the aim to provide balancing services. So the plant has implemented a small scale (200kW) PtG solution to convert and move surplus of renewable electricity from power grid to LNG distribution network.