Gas Natural Fenosa launches pilot project to produce renewable gas in Catalonia
- The pilot plant, located at a treatment facility in Sabadell, will enable natural gas to be produced from carbon dioxide and water.
- The goal is to meet the need of current and future energy systems for storing energy chemically, thereby solving the challenge of storing renewable energies on a large scale.
- This innovative project forms part of the Power-to-Gas concept, which is based on converting and storing surplus electricity from random renewable resources, such as solar and wind, in methane gas.
GAS NATURAL FENOSA has launched a pilot project for the creation of renewable gas (methanation), an initiative forming part of its strategy to produce renewable gases compatible with the supply of natural gas. It is a joint project being undertaken in partnership with the Institut de Recerca en Energia de Catalunya (IREC) and the German spin-off Ineratec GmbH, with which it worked on the design, construction and commissioning of the plant located at a waste water treatment plant in Sabadell, which treats the water from 200,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area of Barcelona.
GAS NATURAL FENOSA is responsible for the construction, commissioning and testing of this pilot plant, as well as the design, installation and oversight of the gas monitoring system at the plant as a whole, which includes the biogas upgrading pilot project being carried out by Cetaqua and the methanation pilot project being developed by the company.
The initiative forms part of CoSin, a project by the RIS3CAT Energy Community, created by the Regional Government of Catalonia through ACCIO, which includes industrial research projects, experimental development and innovation aimed at driving the energy sector towards a more sustainable and efficient model. GAS NATURAL FENOSA is leading the project and also coordinating action with other partners and the RIS3CAT Energy Community. The CoSin Project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, under the framework of the ERDF Operational Programme for Catalonia 2014-2020, and by ACCIÓ, through the RIS3CAT Energy Community.
The main objective of the CoSin project is to develop synthetic fuels using biogenically-sourced carbon and water. It intends to meet the need of current and future energy systems to be able to store energy chemically, thereby solving the challenge of storing renewable energies on a large scale; helping to improve the environment and reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide. It also contemplates the possible use of additional carbon sources, such as forest biomass, slurries or sewage sludge, which provide added social and environmental value.
This innovative project forms part of the Power-to-Gas concept, which is based on converting and storing surplus electricity from random renewable resources, such as solar and wind, in methane gas. These storage technologies are important in Spain because, over the past four years, 40% of electricity has been generated from renewable energies. The main advantage of this strategy is that gas from renewable sources can be transported and stored using the existing gas infrastructure.
The gas storage capacity in Spain stands at close on 30 TWh, which means it would be possible to store all the renewable electricity produced by the wind farms for six months. Another advantage of this technology is that it opens the door to reducing the imports of fossil-based natural gas and that it reduces the emission of carbon dioxide from water treatment plants.
The technology to be developed in Sabadell consists of producing hydrogen and combining it with carbon dioxide from biogas. Only water and the greenhouse gas are used as reactants in this process. The methanation reaction takes place at usual temperature and pressure conditions for industrial processes. Current legislation in Spain is highly restrictive and requires a methane percentage above 95% for injection into the gas network. In this regard, the methanation process and monitoring system are expressly designed for Spain.
Experimental operation of the pilot plant began in May and is scheduled to last for 18 months.