Innovation That Matters

Electron microscope photograph of the Electrochaea archaea strain | Photo source Electrochaea

Converting renewable energy into green gas

Agriculture & Energy

A new methanation plant is poised to produce clean energy using carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and micro-organisms

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Spotted: Power-to-gas is a technology through which the energy from a power source, such as solar, is stored in the form of gas. When combined with methanation, power-to-gas can produce a clean, synthetic methane from carbon dioxide and hydrogen, which can be used as a direct replacement for fossil natural gas. To capitalise on this new form of clean energy production, energy company Electrochaea has recently announced its first standardised 10 megawatt-electrical biomethanation plant designed for commercial operation.

Each standardised Electrochaea plant is capable of producing several million cubic metres of renewable synthetic methane per year, replacing the fossil-derived equivalent. The company’s process involves using a biological catalyst to combine CO2 with clean hydrogen to produce methane. This clean gas can then be stored and distributed within existing infrastructure before being used to generate clean electricity. Unlike thermochemical methanation, Electrochaea’s technology uses a microorganism (archaea) that produces biomethane efficiently and quickly.

Within Europe, there is a tremendous interest in Electrochaea’s technology. The upscaling and standardisation of the commercial plant design was completed under the Accelerator Program of the European Innovation Council (EIC) from which Electrochaea received an EU grant of €2.49 million and an equity investment of €14.98 million.

“Electrochaea’s standardised design can be used at any location with any source of CO2 and hydrogen to produce renewable synthetic methane. The many solutions our plants provide to fight climate change, make this an attractive technology for companies, utilities and municipalities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and provide an additional source of renewable energy to their customers,” says Dr. Doris Hafenbradl, CTO and Managing Director at Electrochaea.

Other recent methane innovations spotted by Springwise include a public transport initiative in Pakistan that uses bio-methane produced from cow dung and a project in Qatar that produces protein for animal feed from methane.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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