EU Helmeth Project – Power-to-Methane (75% Efficiency)
Within the EU Project HELMETH, Efficiency of Methane Gas Production from Renewable Electricity Increased to more than 75 Percent due to Thermal Linking of Chemical Processes. The natural gas network may serve as a buffer for weather-dependent electricity from the wind and sun. This requires economically efficient processes to use electricity for the production of chemical energy carriers. The EU project HELMETH coordinated by KIT has now made an important step. It has demonstrated that high-temperature electrolysis and methanation can be combined in a power-to-gas process with an efficiency of more than 75 percent.
One of the participants in the Helmeth project is the German company Sunfire, specialized in hydrogen production via high-temperature electrolysis of water. In the diagram above they do the conversion from O2 and electricity in and H2 out.
[source] Sunfire’s key technology is the PowerCore — a stack of high-temperature solid oxide cells (SOCs). The PowerCore can be used both as an electrolyser to convert electrical energy into chemical energy, and as a fuel cell to convert various liquid and gaseous fuels based on hydrocarbons (natural gas, LPG) into electricity and heat.