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Title: The Potential of Microbial Power-To-Gas - Case Study in Belgium
Authors: Devriendt, Nathalie
Kreps, Sabine
Virag, Ana
Kessels, Kris
De Wilde, Fabian
Vaes, Jan
Bosmans, Koen
Issue Date: 2016
Source: 24th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, Amsterdam, 6-9 June 2016
Abstract: A successful transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy management in 2050 requires the implementation of sustainable and renewable energy sources on a large scale. The European emission reduction goal of 80% by 2050 in comparison to the 1990 emission level, implies that the power production sector has to be completely sustainable by that time and that other sectors such as industry and transport have to drawback mainly on the sustainable use of energy sources. The implementation of energy saving measures and an adequate selection of the correct energy sources (both renewable and low-carbon) are necessary. It is expected that the share of renewable energy will further increase. Due to the introduction of intermittent energy sources, the need for general flexibility in our energy system increases significantly. Power-to-gas (P2G or PtG) is gaining popularity as a solution to provide the needed flexibility in the energy market. The P2G concept is defined as the conversion of electric energy into hydrogen. It begins with basic electrolysis, i.e. using electricity to split water (H2O) into its components hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen has commercial value and is sold or utilized and the hydrogen can be deployed in different ways. As such it is a technological concept that controls the power demand and that offers four opportunities: (1) electricity storage in case hydrogen is reconverted into electricity, (2) the use of hydrogen as a raw material in industry, (3) the use of hydrogen as a fuel for transport, and (4) storage in gas infrastructure, either by direct injection of hydrogen into the gas grid or by the conversion of hydrogen and carbon dioxide into methane. An interesting development within the last opportunity (i.e. methanation methods) is the so called biological methanogenesis. This method utilizes microorganisms to catalyze the Sabatier reaction, this can be achieved at lower temperatures than when a chemical catalysts is used (Alitalo et al., 2015; Thauer et al., 2008). It also has a higher tolerance to contaminations, such as NH4 and H2S (Burkhardt et al., 2015; Köpke et al., 2011). Within this study we add to literature and investigate the potential of biological methanogenesis using a case study in Belgium. More precisely we start from microbial conversion of H2 and CO2 into biomethane for injection into the natural gas grid. The anaerobic digestion technology can be a very interesting alternative for the transformation of green power into biomethane. Within an anaerobic digester, organic material (e.g. the organic fraction of municipal solid waste, manure, organic waste, and crop residues) are broken down into smaller molecules by a mixture of micro-organisms and finally converted to biogas which, on average, is comprised of 55% CH4 and 45% CO2. Part of the methane in this biogas is formed by the biological conversion of H2 and CO2 which are released during the degradation process. Additional dosage of hydrogen (produced from the excess supply of green power), may enrich this group of micro-organisms and make sure that more CO2 is consumed in the biogas. This implies that the methane content of the final gas increases until, after purification, it can be injected into the natural gas grid. Due to limits on the amount of hydrogen that can be injected into the gas grid, part of the available hydrogen is combined with the CO2 that is captured within the biogas purification step and is converted into biomethane using an external gas converter (i.e. biological methanisation process outside of the digester ). A techno-economic analysis is performed and coupled with an impact analysis for grid balancing. Furthermore, an analysis is made of current legislation with identification of the main barriers and the provision of policy recommendations in order to facilitate the introduction of power-to-gas concept on the Belgian market. Although the case study is in Belgium, a comparison is made with other European countries in order to identify good practices.
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Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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