The flagship project MethanQuest was started in September 2018. A total of 29 partners from research, industry and the energy sector have come together to work on processes for producing hydrogen and methane from renewable energies and using them to achieve climate-neutral mobility and power generation. The project participants have now submitted their interim results. These relate to electrolysis systems for the production of hydrogen both on land and in offshore wind farms, systems for the production of methane, the use of gas engines in cars, ships and CHP systems as well as concepts for energy systems that efficiently couple transport, electricity and electricity . Gas and heating sector. What all systems and processes have in common is the integration of renewable energies.
The energy transition requires that we find innovative solutions for using renewable energies to produce new fuels for mobility and power generation. It is therefore important to recognize future trends at an early stage and to encourage their development. For this reason, we started financing the MethanQuest research project in 2018. The interim results already show very valuable results.
—Norbert Brackmann, Member of the German Bundestag and Federal Government Coordinator for the Maritime Industry
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is making around 19 million euros available for the MethanQuest project.
Hydrogen and methane (e-methane), which are produced from renewable energy sources, will play an important role in the future. With the energy transition, power supply systems are increasingly dependent on flexible gas-fired power plants so that the fluctuations in the use of renewable energies can be balanced out. In addition, gas in LNG form is beginning to gain a foothold as a new marine fuel.
– Project coordinator Dr. Frank Graf from the DVGW Research Center, part of the Engler-Bunte Institute at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
In the MethanGrid research group Rolls-Royce Power Systems, DVGW and other partners have developed a complete locally coupled energy supply system for the inland port facility in Karlsruhe. Electricity, gas, heating, industry and transport – all current sectors – are coupled via this microgrid so that the available energy, including renewable energies, can be optimally used. The microgrid is currently being tested in simulated scenarios using real data from the port facility and other components.
New technologies for generating gas from renewable sources. Six sub-projects are working on the numerous research projects of the MethanQuest project, which is led by DVGW and the Rolls-Royce Power Systems business unit. The MethanFuel Group is researching new processes for the production of methane from renewable energies. All technologies involved – from water electrolysis to CO2 extraction and methanation – have been examined and improved.
AREVA H2Gen has developed an innovative PEM electrolysis system in cooperation with its project partners Fraunhofer ISE and iGas Energy. PEM electrolysis, in which hydrogen is generated from electrical energy from renewable energies, is the first step in the power-to-gas process. In order to be able to produce large quantities of hydrogen in offshore wind farms in the future, the TU Berlin is investigating how seawater can be used directly for electrolysis without prior desalination.
The process steps for converting hydrogen into e-methane were successfully demonstrated at the DVGW and the Engler-Bunte-Institut, sub-institute for chemical energy carriers – fuel technology (EBI ceb) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. First, a long-term experiment was carried out to extract CO2 from the air. A new plant was built that can produce 10 m3 of pure methane per hour.
Testing of hydrogen, methanol and methane for use in ships, cars and for power generation. In various sub-projects, the partners are also working on engines that can burn gas from renewable energies in a highly efficient manner without producing harmful by-products. A methane-powered car engine built under Ford's leadership is currently being put through its paces.
Under the coordination of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, a large, innovative Otto gas engine that runs on hydrogen is also being tested.
The picture shows the test bench with the single-cylinder engine at the Technical University of Munich.
The MethanMare Group would like to show how fuels from renewable energies can support the energy transition in the maritime sector. Studies have shown that the use of catalytic converters and an extremely complex technology for high-pressure gas injection can reduce the emissions of a methane-powered marine engine by up to 80% compared to a conventional gas engine. It has also been shown that methanol combustion in large high speed engines results in low pollutant emissions and zero methane emissions.
Concept for an LNG supply system with a microgrid in the inland port of Karlsruhe. Partners working on the MethanGrid subproject have developed an e-methane storage and distribution system for the Rhine port of Karlsruhe, with which ships and trucks can be supplied with LNG. The system can also support the high-pressure gas network in Baden-Württemberg to cover peak loads. The researchers have also developed a complete locally coupled energy supply system for the port. This is a microgrid that connects all current sectors such as electricity, gas, heating, transport and industry, and makes it possible to make optimal use of all available energy, including renewable energies. Finally, the partners are also examining how e-methane can be integrated into the entire German energy infrastructure.
E-methane E-methane can be produced using electricity from renewable sources – also known as the “power-to-gas” process. E-methane is easy to store and use at a later date, which facilitates a CO2-neutral energy cycle. The basic principle is as follows: Renewable energy sources such as wind or sun are used to generate electricity. In electrolysis, this electrical energy is used to break water down into its components (hydrogen and oxygen). With the hydrogen and carbon dioxide from the air (CO2 extraction) or from biomass as well as the further use of energy, other synthetic fuels such as e-methane, e-diesel and e-methanol can be produced.