Sometimes in life, the pendulum only swings one way. For example, it has long been possible to generate electricity from natural gas, but the opposite couldn’t be achieved–until now, thanks to the ingenuity of the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES.
According to Fraunhofer, electricity is converted into synthetic natural gas using a new processed developed by Fraunhofer and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research. Dr. Michael Specht of ZSW explains that the process “splits water using surplus renewable energy using electrolysis. The result is hydrogen and oxygen. A chemical reaction of hydrogen with carbon dioxide generates methane–and that is nothing other than natural gas, produced synthetically.”
Dr. Specht goes on to explain that the rapid development of renewable energies–noting solar and wind in particular–has created a demand for new storage technologies. The new technology could keep green electricity ready at hand as a natural gas or renewable methane, and could make it easily accessible: one core goal of the collaborative effort between ZSW and IWES has been easy integration. A company by the name of Solar Fuel Technology, an Austria-based partner company, is currently setting up the industrial implementation of the process.
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