The Challenge of Energy Storage in Europe: Focus on Power to Fuel

The energy sector in the European market has been changing significantly over the last years. European Union (EU) energy strategy includes the EU low-carbon roadmap milestone, which indicates for 2020, a 20% reduction in carbon emissions, and a 20% EU-wide share for renewables, and by 2030 a 40% reduction in carbon emissions and 30% EU-wide share for renewables. The increased renewable energy sources (RES) penetration and their intermittent energy production have led to the emerging need for energy storage technologies. Especially in the European energy market, large-scale energy balancing with sustainable technologies with product flexibility and cost-effective operation are being investigated. The carbon capture and utilization (CCU) concept, as a means for low-carbon sustainable industries, is integrated in the energy storage technologies. The present paper addresses the integration of power to fuel concept in the energy storage sector with simultaneous emission reduction. Grid management, the scale, and the efficient operation of electrolyzers are the basis for the implementation of Power to Fuel technology. The use of surplus and/or low-cost electricity via water electrolysis to commute captured CO2 from industrial plants to versatile energy carriers such as methane and methanol is being investigated in the present paper. Shadow operation of fossil fuel power plants under minimum load conditions leads to optimized energy dispatch of the power plants and provides product flexibility in terms of electricity, grid services, and chemical production. The produced fuels can be used in highly efficient and well-established power systems and further used in the transportation sector or for covering heat demands. The energy efficiency of the different processes is presented and a comparison is made in terms of cost effective energy storage solutions via the simultaneous grid management optimization, the reduction of carbon dioxide, and the production of valuable chemicals. The cross-sectorial concept of the Power to Fuel is presented for Steel and Power industry for the case of methane and methanol production. A review of the U.S. and European markets is made for the application of Power to Fuel.

Authors: Efthymia-Ioanna Koytsoumpa, Christian Bergins, Torsten Buddenberg, Song Wu, Ómar Sigurbjörnsson, K. C. Tran and Emmanouil Kakaras

DOI: 10.1115/1.4032544

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement
No 637016.

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