“Green gas from green power”: E.ON launches nationwide initiative

2019/04/10

  • Holistic approach to reducing CO2 emissions
  • Innovative technologies link up heating, transport and industrial sectors

Together with the German regional energy suppliers Avacon, Bayernwerk, E.DIS and HanseWerk, E.ON has launched its new “Green gas from green power” initiative to reduce CO2 emissions in the heating, transport and industrial sectors.

Power-to-Gas (P2G) – plants convert locally produced energy from wind and solar into “green” gas, i.e. hydrogen or – in a subsequent step – into synthetic methane. Both can be fed directly into gas distribution grids and used directly by customers to decarbonize heating, mobility and industrial processes. There is huge potential here for the energy transition: after all, 95 percent of all renewable energy installations in Germany are already connected to the distribution grid, so tomorrow’s energy world is increasingly distributed, and so-called sector coupling is taking place to a large extent within the distribution grid.

The projects that form part of E.ON’s “Green gas from green power” initiative are fairly broad-based and comprise both research and practice. With these projects, E.ON is applying for funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) as part of the “Living Labs for the Energy Transition” scheme. The aim of the living labs, which E.ON also supports, is to implement a holistic approach to exploring and driving comprehensive solutions for tomorrow’s energy supply with the help of strong partners.

Avacon’s application for funding is based on the idea of setting up an Energy Transition Laboratory in the former Helmstedt lignite mining area to facilitate sector coupling and deliver a lighthouse project for the energy transition in this region with its long energy history. The company plans to build and operate P2G-plant consisting of a 10-megawatt electrolyzer and a downstream methanation unit. The project is worth €20 million. The CO2 source for the methanation process will be the local thermal waste processing plant operated by Energy from Waste GmbH, which is situated close to the former Buschhaus lignite-fired power plant. With its direct access to the electricity and gas distribution grids, the project offers a huge opportunity for actively advancing decarbonization by connecting these two grids.

In addition to submitting a project draft for a “living lab”, Avacon has only recently signed a cooperation agreement with Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH and Linde AG for the joint “Salzgitter Wind-hydrogen” innovation project, which marked an important step in the direction of a hydrogen-based industry. The project aims to generate hydrogen in Salzgitter through electrolysis using electricity from wind power. Thus, crucial foundations will be laid for the future use of greater quantities of hydrogen in steel production, which will, in turn, lead to a significant reduction in direct CO2 emissions.

E.DIS, too, is competing for funding for its Energy Transition Laboratory in the Brandenburg town of Ketzin. Here, a smart way of linking various technologies for renewable energy production, energy conversion (PtX), energy storage and energy distribution will be explored and further developed. As part of this project E.DIS will team up with Berlin-based GASAG to create a scalable P2G-plant at its Ketzin site. The location is particularly suitable for such a project, as not only is it close to the Nauener Platte wind farm with around 200 wind turbines, but it also boasts direct connections to electricity and gas grids. The Ketzin Energy Transition Laboratory project is worth around €30 million.

Further research projects and field experiments by E.ON for feed-in, admixture and transportation of hydrogen in the E.ON gas distribution grids supplement the three funding applications submitted to the Ministry for “Living Labs for the Energy Transition”.

Commenting on the initiative, Thomas König, E.ON SE’s COO in charge of energy networks, said: “With our ‘Green gas from green power’ initiative, we are aiming to make a significant contribution to CO2 reduction in the heating, transport and industry sectors. We believe there is a great deal of potential here in linking up the existing, local energy infrastructures. In this way, we are advancing renewable energies efficiently in all sectors and driving the energy transition 2.0. We achieve all this by bundling not just our strengths, but also by working closely with other partners.”

This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by E.ON Group Management and other information currently available to E.ON. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. E.ON SE does not intend, and does not assume any liability whatsoever, to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.