A pilot plant will convert CO2 into natural gas

Conversion of carbon dioxide captured from power units into synthetic natural gas to be used as a vehicle fuel (SNG) is the objective of the pilot plant commissioned by TAURON in the Łaziska power plant.

This project is aimed at converting the carbon dioxide captured from power units into synthetic natural gas to be used as a vehicle fuel (SNG). Methane is generated as a result of reaction of CO2 with hydrogen coming from water electrolysis. This process may be supplied by the surplus of cheap energy produced, e.g. from renewable sources in the so-called off-peak periods, when the demand for energy is lower (for instance, in the night time).This technology is thus not only a prospective solution for CO2, utilization but also for the storage of electricity from uncontrollable energy sources – wind farms or photovoltaic cells. A by-product in this process is oxygen.

Research projects aimed at eliminating carbon dioxide from the exhaust gases have been already conducted in the power plants of TAURON Group. Our interest is thus focused upon research and development works aimed at  working out  a technology for commercial utilization of CO2, especially those which will allow the utilization of its considerable quantities if the project should be commercialized – as stressed by Mr Filip Grzegorczyk, President of the Board of TAURON Polska Energia

Electricity surpluses are utilized in the project of production of hydrogen which, together with carbon dioxide captured from boiler flue gases, will be then used in the methanation reactor  for producing synthetic methane. The crabby dioxide required in the process comes from the pilot plant capturing CO2 that occurs in the flue gases from the operating power unit.

A CO2-SNG pilot plant is aimed at testing – in real conditions – the methanation reactor and a comprehensive plant for producing methane from CO2  and hydrogen. Analyzed will be its efficiency of processing, working flexibility as well as  adaptation in view of  to store energy surpluses as synthetic methane. Therefore, this project combines two trends, viz. a limitation of CO2 from power plants and a guarantee of mutli-scale energy accumulation through reduction of gaseous fuels in the periods when the energy is cheap. The plant under presentation is the fruit of preceding  activities and achievements of TAURON Group in the R&D field regarding CO2 – capturing – as explained by Mr Jarosław Broda, Deputy President of the Board of TAURON Polska Energia for property management and development.

Due to an innovative technology increased will be the storage capacity of energy as methane with simultaneous utilization of CO2 for economic purposes.

The SNG (synthetic natural gas) produced in the period of electricity surplus may be injected into the existing natural gas network to be utilized in peak periods for energy production e.g. in gas turbines. After compression, it may be also used – already as – CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) in vehicle transport.

It is worth stressing that methane subject to combustion in piston internal combustion engines exhibits the lowest emission of noxious substances into the air in comparison to all other types of fuels used for this purpose. Hence, in many cities bus stocks in public transport, so far based upon typical diesel engines, becomes replaced with vehicles adapted to compressed methane.

The CO2-SNG pilot has been designed and executed at the Łaziska Power Plant under the project performed by an international consortium led by TAURON Wytwarzanie. The project is co-financed by KIC InnoEnergy.

The project is also co-financed by EIT InnoEnergy supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology – EIT under the EU program in the field of research and innovation – Horizon 2020.

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