The potential of power-to-gas, an ENEA study

ENEA carried out a study on the potential of power-to-gas financed by the Tuck Foundation through the program The Future of Energy and co-financed by KIC InnoEnergy. As an expert company providing consultancy in technologies and markets for energy transition, ENEA assessed the current and future potential of power-to-gas technologies with regards to the current trends on the energy markets.

The increase of power production capacities from intermittent sources is fostering R&D and interest in power-to-gas in Europe.

Massive development of renewable electricity production from intermittent sources (i.e. wind and solar) is underway in Europe. Increased capacities of power production from intermittent sources lead to periods of low spot prices of electricity, offering an opportunity for the development of flexible electro-intensive processes, and power-to-gas (hydrogen and synthetic methane) processes in particular.

This perspective has recently been fostering the R&D activity and interest in power-to-gas in Europe and more specifically Germany. Around 50 pilot and demonstration projects have been launched worldwide since 2004, most of them being announced in the 3 past years, with a significant level of activity in grid injection applications.

A study based on sensitivity analysis to identify the conditions required for economic viability

This study assesses the economic potential of power-to-gas and other power-to-X applications with a technical-economic modelling of six case studies targeting energy markets (i.e. gas injection into the grid, green mobility, heat production). For each case study, the levelized cost of the final product is compared with the market prices of alternative products on the target markets. This comparison was performed for three time horizons (2015, 2030 and 2050) offering different set of assumptions regarding prices of electricity and cost of technologies, in order to identify conditions required for business cases to be viable.

Power-to-hydrogen for mobility found to be the most promising market for power-to-gas

Based on the case studies considered and the various scenarios analyzed, this study shows that power-to-gas technologies have most potential when applied to green mobility markets (hydrogen). As such, their fate will be strongly correlated to policies and incentives implemented in the much broader perspective of the transport sector decarbonisation.