Brief introduction to Power to Gas in Germany

The German energy system is changing fundamentally. The Federal Government set the course for a sustainable energy supply with its 2010 Energy Concept and the resolutions on an accelerated energy transition in 2011. For example, greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by at least 80 percent by 2050 compared with 1990. The Federal Government has also set other ambitious goals, e.g. increasing the proportion of gross final energy consumption supplied via renewable energy to 60 percent by 2050. Innovative technical solutions are required to reach these goals and guarantee a secure and economical energy supply.

Power to Gas: System Solution

Power to Gas is a particularly promising system solution. The idea behind Power to Gas is to convert renewable electricity to hydrogen or methane, store it in the gas infrastructure and then use it in a variety of consumption areas. Hydrogen and methane from renewable electricity can be used equally in mobility, industrial, heat supply and electricity generation applications. That makes Power to Gas a multi-system solution which supports the integration of renewable energy into the energy system and also contributes to reaching the ambitious goals of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and the sustainability goals in all areas of consumption.

As an electricity storage method, Power to Gas can also contribute to compensating the increasing fluctuations in electricity generation from wind and solar energy and facilitate long-term use of electricity which could not be integrated directly into the electricity grid at times of particularly high renewable generation.

Benefits of Power to Gas

The main benefits of Power to Gas technology for the entire energy system are:

  • Transfer of electricity into other demand sectors – electricity, heat, mobility and industrial use – to fulfill ambitious political targets (e.g. greenhouse gas reductions)
  • Power to Gas provides flexibility for the electricity system and thus supports the integration of renewable energy
  • Power to Gas uses existing infrastructure, e.g. natural gas network, natural gas storage facilities and power generation facilities
  • Power to Gas technology will be a key player for energy storage – especially long term storage – in a future energy system
  • Power to Gas technology is mature and ready for use

Today there are already 14 pilot and demonstration projects in Germany in operation and more than 17 facilities are under construction (project overview in german). Several international projects are underway as well.