A fossil-free energy system in which fluctuating wind power accounts for a large part of the electricity generation requires development of a coherent energy system which integrates electricity, gas, heating and transport. This entails the development of new gas technologies that can bridge the gap between the gas sector and the other sectors.
For a number of years, research has been conducted into various technologies, resulting in the development of technologies for the production of RE gas as well as technologies for the consumption of RE gas. Particularly in recent years, focus has also been on exploring possibilities of utilising the gas infrastructure to transport and store hydrogen and other RE gases.
Relationship between the electricity and gas systems, including the various technologies for the production, consumption and storing of RE gas.
From electricity to gas
The generation of electricity from wind and solar power fluctuates, and storing electricity in batteries is currently very costly, considering the storage capacity that would be required. There are no prospects of this situation changing.
Some of the electricity generated therefore needs to be converted to an energy carrier that is suitable for storage, eg gas. In this context, the gas system is suitable for storage due to its flexibility and its capacity for storing large volumes over several months relatively inexpensively. So there is, among other things, a need for technologies that can convert electricity to gas.
And the other way round
Conversely, there is also a need for technologies that can reconvert gas to electricity, when necessary. Furthermore, technologies are required which can directly utilise the green gases in areas in which electricity is not expedient, eg for heavy land transport, sea transport and certain industrial processes.
The heat generated when electricity is converted to gas, and when gas is converted to electricity, can be used for heating, either via individual solutions or in the district-heating network.
Bridging the gap
Gas from renewable energy sources may be an important link in the future energy system as it can be produced flexibly from biomass, waste and, in the long term, even from electricity based on renewable energy. In order to achieve effective interaction, the use of the existing gas infrastructure to transport and store RE gases is an expedient solution.