In addition to enabling the increasingly accessible diffusion of sustainable electricity, solar and wind energy are revolutionising market dynamics. Managing electricity generation based on consumption is an outdated paradigm: the current demand is to obtain as much energy as possible when renewable sources are available by organising green electrons in space and time.
The answer to this need is power-to-gas, P2G, which transforms surplus electricity into green molecules that can be transported over long distances at low cost with less and less leakage. At the same time, it offers the option of seasonal storage for renewable energy.
Green gas upgrading
Power-to-gas technology exploits the phenomenon of electrolysis: excess energy from wind farms, photovoltaic fields and electrical infrastructure congestion is used to break the bonds of the water molecules and produce hydrogen.
Green hydrogen can be upgraded on site where there is consumption, for example in the automotive sector, or transported to the point of use via new dedicated infrastructure or, alternatively, using the existing gas network.
This infrastructure is evolving so as to be able to accept increasing quantities of hydrogen that can be injected into the grid thanks to the use of blending systems. This is a technological constraint that can now be completely overcome thanks to power-to-methane (P2M) solutions.
In fact, we can convert hydrogen into methane and water by making use of the Sabatier reaction by using an external source of carbon dioxide. This methanation process, which can take place via biological or catalytic routes, produces a valuable energy vector that has the same characteristics as traditional natural gas and can therefore be transported and stored in a similar manner.
If the carbon dioxide used is renewable in origin (biogas, biological fermentation processes, etc.), the green molecules obtained via methanation are considered to be biomethane.
Storage of excess renewable energy using Power-to-gas technology
Pietro Fiorentini’s complete power-to-gas solutions
80 years of experience in processing natural gas combined with our commitment to the process of decarbonisation has driven us to develop complete power-to-gas solutions. From pure hydrogen injection systems after blending to the development of hydrogen-ready network solutions, we are contributing to the development of the infrastructure to overcome the technological constraints that limit the introduction of green gases.
Pietro Fiorentini’s power-to-methane solutions balance out this effort, making the green gas produced fully compatible with the relevant infrastructure from the outset.
In addition to traditional catalytic methanation technologies, recently the Company has expanded its service offerings to alternative biological methanation systems designed to meet small to medium-sized renewable production needs. In the biomethanation process, billions of methanogenic microorganisms called Archaea metabolise hydrogen and carbon dioxide into methane and water within an anaerobic environment.
This process is particularly appropriate where strong reactivity is required, such as with power-to-gas, and in cases where contaminant-laced gases are processed with traditional technologies that would require pre-treatment to avoid catalyst poisoning.
Biomethanation also allows us to exploit the synergies between power-to-gas and biogas anaerobic digestion plants as the sludge present can be used as nourishment for the Archaea.
These are innovative solutions that reinforce Pietro Fiorentini’s commitment to the production of green molecules: our biogas-to-biomethane upgrading systems, decentralised grid gas injection solutions and BiRemi™ have already set in motion and continue to support the modernisation of the infrastructure designed around the transport and distribution needs of green gas.
Power-to-gas is now one of the most promising technologies for facilitating the energy transition and complying with the Green Deal that was signed by the European Union, which envisages zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with extremely challenging intermediate targets for 2030.
In fact, utilising existing gas infrastructure will make it possible to make large quantities of energy widely available. A journey towards decarbonised and defossilised gas systems embedded within energy infrastructures that will be holistic, according to Pietro Fiorentini’s vision. Thus, it will not only include gas treatment plants and technologies, but projects capable of encompassing all the solutions needed to achieve system resilience within a single environment and meet the new requirements of balancing energy supply and demand.
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