Navigation Links
Synthetic natural gas from excess electricity
Date:1/6/2014

The methanation process uses CO2, for example from biogas production, and this combined with hydrogen (H2) from excess renewable electricity, produces methane, which can not only be distributed simply and cost-effectively in the natural gas network, but can also be stored for longer periods of time. This means renewable energy is being used to produce a "quasi-fossil" fuel the basic principle of "power to gas".

The Sabatier reaction, which produces combustible methane from hydrogen and CO2, has been known for a long time. Now researchers in the Empa "Hydrogen and Energy" Department have succeeded in greatly optimising the process. A catalyst is required to bring about the reaction of CO2 with hydrogen using as little energy as possible; this catalyst can, for example, be made of nickel. The gas molecules react more easily with each other on the surface of such a catalyst, reducing the energy required for the reaction to take place. This is referred to as sorption catalysis. Empa researcher, Andreas Borgschulte, and his team have now combined a nanoscale nickel catalyst with a zeolite. Zeolites are crystalline aluminosilicates with the ability to absorb water molecules and release them again when heated.

The principle is simple: the chemical reaction of hydrogen with CO2 produces not only methane (CH4), but also water (H2O). The researchers use the hygroscopic (i.e. water-binding) property of the zeolite to remove the resulting water from the reaction mixture. The chemical equilibrium then moves towards methane. Result: a higher yield of pure methane and a more efficient catalytic process. As soon as the zeolite is saturated with water, it can be "unloaded" again by heating and evaporation of the water, and is then re-used.

Project partners sought

The process works though currently only in the laboratory. According to Borgschulte, there is still a long way to go before it is ready for commercial exploitation in large plants. Empa researchers are currently looking for project partners in order to build a methanation plant on a larger scale and use it as a pilot project. At the same time, Borgschulte's team would like to optimise the process even further. The next stage is to use four or more sorption catalysts at the same time. When one is saturated with water, the system automatically jumps to the next "dry" catalyst while the previous one is being "unloaded" again.

One problem with this cyclical method up to now has been sulphur, which is produced in biogas plants together with methane and CO2. Sulphur compounds can cause irreparable damage to the zeolite. The researchers are now working on removing the sulphur from crude biogas so that the zeolite continues to work for as long as possible.

In future, Borgschulte also thinks it is conceivable that new catalyst materials that are more efficient than nickel may be used in combination with the zeolite. These could improve the Sabatier process even further. This would mean that excess renewable electricity was no longer wasted but used as the basis for producing sustainable natural gas.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cornelia Zogg
cornelia.zogg@empa.ch
41-587-654-599
Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. New method of DNA editing allows synthetic biologists to unlock secrets of a bacterial genome
2. Scientists stitch up photosynthetic megacomplex
3. Researchers find a missing component in effort to create primitive, synthetic cells
4. Wilson Center awarded European Union grant for synthetic biology work
5. Will the Nagoya Protocol impact your synthetic biology research?
6. Book: Synthetic Biology and Morality
7. MIT and Wilson Center receive NSF grant to develop synthetic biology research agenda
8. Synthetic biology research community grows significantly
9. Synthetic derivatives of THC may weaken HIV-1 infection to enhance antiviral therapies
10. Predictability: The brass ring for synthetic biology
11. Synthetic molecule first electricity-making catalyst to use iron to split hydrogen gas
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Synthetic natural gas from excess electricity
(Date:2/3/2016)... PUNE, India , February 3, 2016 ... to the new market research report "Automated Fingerprint Identification ... (Tenprint Search, Latent Search), Application (Banking & Finance, Government, ... 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to ... estimated CAGR of 21.0% between 2015 and 2020. The ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016  BioMEMS ... are primarily focused on medical screening and ... point-of-care parameters. Wearable devices that facilitate and ... freedom of movement are being bolstered through ... human biomedical signal acquisition coupled with wireless ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 Technology ... service presents an analysis of the digital and computed ... Malaysia , and Indonesia ... current trends and market size, as well as regional ... by country and discusses market penetration and market attractiveness, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... 11, 2016 Non-profit Consortium Aims to ... to Support Research and Discovery --> ... an ambitious plan to sequence 100,000 individuals. It is intended ... at least 7 of North and East Asian countries. ... phase, the project will focus on creating phased reference genomes ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016  Spectra BioPharma Selling Solutions (Spectra) ... provides biopharma companies the experience, expertise, operational delivery ... outsourced sales teams. Created in concert with industry ... the strategic and tactical needs of its clients ... through both personal and non-personal promotion. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016   BioInformant ... report, "Stem Cell Research Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies ... ... in the stem cell industry, BioInformant has more than ... the stem cell market, by stem cell type. This ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Early-career researchers from ... , Uganda and Yemen ... nutrition   Indonesia , Nepal ... Yemen are being honored for their accomplishments in ... celebrated for mentoring young women scientists who are pursuing careers in agriculture, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: