Renewable natural gas for the mobility sector
At the Viessmann company headquarters in Allendorf (Eder), synthetic natural gas produced from surplus renewable electricity (e.g. from wind and solar power) by means of a biological power-to gas method is being marketed within the mobility sector for the first time. The first plant of its kind in the world went into operation at the beginning of March and, since June, has been marketing the gas as biofuel, following the successful completion of a performance test.
Method and components of biological methanisation
The increasing expansion of wind and solar power are leading to growing quantities of surplus electricity during windy and sunny periods that cannot be fed into the power grid due to a lack of demand or sufficient capacity of the electrical grid. In this case, the surplus electricity can be used to produce hydrogen from water in an electrolyser developed and built in Allendorf by Schmack Carbotech, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Viessmann. Then the produced hydrogen, together with carbon dioxide from a biogas plant, is converted into natural gas or methane by microbiological means. The biological methanisation method was developed by MicrobEnergy and the technology was designed and built by Schmack Biogas, both Viessmann companies.
The methanisation is carried out by specialised microorganisms, which convert the in water dissolved hydrogen and carbon dioxide into methane and water.
Successful completion of the performance test
A month-long performance test was carried out in June. Criteria for passing of the test were the production of 35,000 kWh of energy and compliance with strict quality criteria for synthetic natural gas, with methane content above 98% and hydrogen content below 1.5%. The performance test was successful, achieving 120% of its targets. The synthetic natural gas is certified by TÜV Süd as a sustainable fuel for natural gas vehicles. Since July 1st, 2015, this biologically-produced fuel has been marketed within the mobility sector. A leading car manufacturer with a CNG vehicle fleet is the contractual purchaser.
Synthetic natural gas produced for a range of 750,000 km
The Viessmann Group now also runs several CNG vehicles in its fleet on its own synthetic natural gas. With the amount of gas produced at the plant, it is possible to travel approximately 750,000 km annually.
Funded by “BioPower2Gas”
The plant was built in Allendorf (Eder) with support from the “BioPower2Gas” funding project (www.biopower2gas.de), as a power-to-gas demonstration plant. The main aims of the project are to test the electrolyser and the method of biological methanisation, to fully integrate the plant into the biomethane plant, to produce gas of a consistent and suitable quality and to prove that operation is reliable and dynamic. In addition, it will also investigate balancing energy operation and operation with fluctuating qualities of input gas, regardingCO2- and moisture content, temperature levels and operation on cyclical and seasonal basis).
The next are the full implementation of an automated plant management and the further optimisation of the business model. The company MicrobEnergy plans to enter the balancing energy market in September 2015.
The Viessmann Group is one of the leading international manufacturers of heating, industrial and refrigeration systems. Founded in 1917, the family business maintains a staff of approximately 11,500 employees and generates 2.2 billion Euro in annual group turnover.
With 22 production divisions in 11 countries, subsidiaries and representations in 74 countries and 120 sales offices around the world, Viessmann is an internationally orientated company. 56 percent of sales are generated abroad.