Portal Green - Storing, tapping and transporting renewable energy


© istockphoto.com/ j2ranti

According to the Federal Network Agency, renewable energies in Germany now cover around 31 percent of electricity consumption (gross). Many of the renewable energies feed electricity into the grid depending on wind and weather. When times of high feed-in coincide with low power consumption, there is an oversupply. Since the power grids currently cannot accommodate this oversupply, wind and solar power plants have to be shut down from time to time.

One way to store or otherwise use the surplus electricity is through power-to-gas technology. Green electricity is used to generate hydrogen gas through electrolysis in an electrochemical process. The hydrogen can then be converted to methane. Hydrogen and methane have the advantage that they can be fed into the natural gas grid. The natural gas network can thus be used as an energy storage system. At the same time, the gas can be transported, tapped, and used in the chemical industry.

Although the process has many advantages and represents an important step forward towards the integration of renewable energies into the existing energy systems, there are currently only a negligible number of power-to-gas plants in Germany that are licensed according to the Federal Control of Pollution Act (BImSchG). The fact that the time and funds required are difficult to calculate keeps investors and other parties from embarking on the construction of such plants. The reason for this is above all the inconsistent basis of licensing law, technical specifications and guidelines for the construction and operation of such plants.

Guide to faster and easier licensing of power-to-gas plants

In the joint "Portal Green" project, GRS - together with partners of the Bergische Universität Wuppertal (BUW), DBI Gas- und Umwelttechnik GmbH, the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW) and Uniper Energy Storage GmbH (UST) - is currently developing guidelines on technical and regulatory requirements for the construction and operation of power-to-gas plants and their uses.

In the first step, a central guideline for power-to-gas generation plants is to be created. In a second step, the experts will turn to the application areas. These include, for example, the chemical industry, natural-gas filling stations, or reconversion.
The guides are intended to provide operators and authorities with tools for faster and easier licensing, thereby promoting the integration of renewable energies. In this context, the guidelines are intended to reflect the current state of the art in science and technology and be integrated into the regulations of the DVGW.

Workshops for participating in the shaping of the power-to-gas guidelines

In a total of six workshops taking place between 2018 and 2020 and involving stakeholders from industry, associations and authorities, the principles for the guidelines will be developed and discussed. This way, the project partners want to ensure that they take into account the experiences of all involved and find application-oriented solutions to current technical and licensing problems.

Project of the Federal Government’s 6th Energy Research Programme

The Portal Green project is part of the 6th Energy Research Programme of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). With this programme, the ministry supports research institutions and companies in researching and developing forward-looking energy supply technologies. Here, one focus is on systemic issues, including the integration of new energy technologies in energy supply and novel energy storage systems. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology sponsors Portal Green with a total of 1.3 million euros.

Find out more

6th Energy Research Programme
German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW)
Bergische Universität Wuppertal (BUW)
Gas- und Umwelttechnik GmbH (DBI)
Uniper Energy Storage GmbH (UST)