German energy company Uniper has launched a new pilot scheme to make use of wind power by converting it into methane gas.
Wind power across Europe is growing rapidly, and the industry continues to make advancements in production, efficiency, and lubrication, such as from the advanced wind-power lubricants available through
Mobil UK distributors. Windy days, however, can lead to excess power generation, and there’s great interest in finding practical ways to make use of this.
In line with this, Uniper has set up a pilot scheme to convert wind energy into methane gas, the primary component of natural gas. The company is already using wind power at its Falkenhagen plant to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. This green hydrogen is a viable transport fuel, and it can even be combined with natural gas in modest proportions and fed into gas grids. Producing methane instead, however, will result in a better quality fuel with a more diverse range of applications.
As part of the two-year pilot, Uniper will take carbon dioxide from a bio-ethanol plant and combine it with hydrogen, which it already produces onsite, to create something that resembles natural gas. The amounts produced initially will be relatively small. Should the company’s engineers demonstrate the viability of the technology, though, it could push renewable energy a step further by adding the ability to convert excess wind energy into a fuel that can easily be used in a variety of sectors, such as manufacturing and electricity generation.