Lighthouse Project Power-to-Gas

Applied R&D for the Economical Hydrogen Production as Fuel based on Green Electricity

Duration: June 2016 - December 2019
Contracting Authority/ Sponsors: Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Wohnungsbau Baden-Württemberg; Projektträger PTKA
Project Partners: Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW), DVGW Research Centre at Engler-Bunte-Institute (EBI) of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Project Focus:
Lighthouse Project Power-to-Gas  - Electrolyzer
© Fraunhofer ISE
Electrolyzer of the PtG plant in Grenzach-Wyhlen.

The mobility sector is on the verge of change concerning the energy transition: In order to achieve German’s climate protection goals and reduce dependence on fossil resources, renewable fuels produced from domestic energy sources will become increasingly important in the future. Against this background, hydrogen as an alternative secondary energy carrier will be indispensable for CO2-neutral mobility or can be used for gas grid feed-in and, if necessary, for downstream fuel synthesis.

As part of this lighthouse project in Baden-Württemberg, a power to gas (PtG) plant with a 1 MWel electrolyzer was established and will be operated commercially since this year. At the same time, the operation for research purposes takes place over a period of up to 18 months. Subsequently, the plant is taken over by the company Energiedienst into regular operation.

The aim of the R&D activities, which are carried out jointly by different research institutes under the coordination of the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research and associated industrial partners from Baden-Württemberg, is to further develop the power to gas technology, in particular the core component alkaline electrolysis, in terms of cost and efficiency on the basis of operating experience. The associated components and subsystems (compressors, rectifiers, pressure vessels, analytics, safety technology, etc.) are also to be analyzed together with the corresponding companies with regard to cost and efficiency potentials with the aim of subsequently converting promising ideas into power to gas products. To this end, the infrastructure of the power to gas plant will provide the opportunity to test further developments in an industrial environment and thus to demonstrate the technological improvements. In particular, the aim is also to create the basis for the development of future power to gas business areas and technology exports through profitability and path analyses.

One of the main focuses of the project is the close involvement of industrial partners in research and development with the aim of providing companies from the automotive industry, energy supply, mechanical engineering and plant construction with early insights into the design of possible future innovative products in power to gas systems.

The main focus of Fraunhofer ISE in this project is on the following activities:

  • Simulative consideration of the possibilities of decoupling waste heat from the electrolysis system to supply residential and industrial buildings with heating energy.
  • Life cycle assessment to evaluate the ecological aspects of PtG technology
  • Development and construction of a novel and innovative system for the electrochemical compression of hydrogen (EHC) on a laboratory scale.
  • Conceptual design of an EHC system for use at a PtG plant of the power class 1 MWel
  • Consideration of theeconomic efficiency of the PtG plant system