Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ProGeo Report Summary

Project ID: 717957

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ProGeo (ProGeo)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2017-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

PLC System is an Italian medium company acting as a EPC and/or supplier for electrical plants/substations engineering and construction and as a IPP (independent power producer). The company is very active in the energy R&D, with the clear scope to fabricate and install its own products to be offered in the very competitive energy market.
Within this framework, PLC is developing ProGeo, a 500 kW Power-to-Gas modular unit able to store electricity by converting carbon dioxide into synthetic methane with high flexibility thanks to fast start-ups and shutdowns. The project tackles some major challenges in the energy and industrial sectors, paying specific attention on two key points:
• Development of an innovative solution for CO2 valorization. In fact, the hydrogen flow from the electrolyser reacts with CO2 to exothermically produce methane and water
• Development of a cost-competitive and efficient solution for energy storage/conversion. Methane is a well-known and widely used fuel and technologies related to CH4 storage and distribution are fully available.
Starting from a 4-year experience and taking into consideration a 30 kWel prototype already developed and experimentally validated by PLC, a 500 kW modular unit will be produced during the project: the unit will have a rated production rate of 25 Nm3/h of pure methane. PLC has identified a strategic partner, LAMEP, a company operating in the field of precision engineering, and defined a business plan with the assessment of the minimum viable product, the production cost and market price, a preliminary industrialization and commercialization plan.
The patented product will be offered to owners and managers of small Thermoelectric Generation (s-TEG, < 50 MWth) plants, who will have the possibility to store energy and avoid the sale of low-price electricity during low peak requirements (electricity market price < 20-30 €/MWh) and to reduce the CO2 emissions and the consequent carbon tax amount (5 ÷ 20 €/ton of CO2), producing an additional revenue source from the synthetic-CH4 generation.
ProGeo will provide customers with the following benefits:
• increasing of average electricity sale price = +25%,
• reduction of CO2 emission and tax = -10%,
• increasing of TEG plant EBITDA = up to 1 M€/y for a 20 MWel natural gas fuelled power plant,
• ProGeo pay-back time = 3 ÷ 4.5 years,
• reduced start-ups / shut-downs of the TEG.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The following activities were performed by the beneficiary during P1:
Under WP1, starting from the design of the existing ProGeo 30 kW prototype, the scale-up as well as the definition of the technical specifications of all the groups and assemblies to be provided in the 500 kW one have been completed. CAD drawings, preliminary P&I diagrams and items list for each of the complex elements constituting ProGeo, were provided.
For each unit (CO2 capture and conditioning, H2 generation unit, CH4 generation unit and gas separation), the related control logic was drafted, in order to automate the process for a proper working condition of the whole plant. In this WP, as a concluding activity, the final version of the design and engineering documents (executive, construction drawings) were issued.
The sequence of equipment and sub-systems needed to implement the complete ProGeo process, and how these systems interconnect with each other were presented through diagrams, flow schemes and descriptions which also took into account the safety and regulative aspects for the correct operation of the final plant.
WP2 started toward the end of P1, so that no major deliveries were planned for the reference period. However, the core components manufacturing task and the procurement one were partially anticipated not to delay the unit assembling and testing before it is shipped to the demonstration site.
During WP3, the Consortium consolidated a written agreement with the management of the demonstration site owned by ACEA Pinerolese so that the subsequent authorization and permitting process could start.
In parallel, efforts and resources have been devoted to planning and performing of customer development activities and in drafting an intermediate version of the business plan (WP5); purpose of the customer development activities is the establishment and the creation of contacts and strategic partnership with potential adopters of the ProGeo technology, while the discussions related to the future commercialization phase have allowed to better clarify the intentions and expectations of the two involved beneficiaries PLC and LAMEP.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

One of the reasons for developing Power to Gas (P2G) technology is the variability of the renewable energy sources and the impossibility to feed all the produced energy into the grid. Not all of the existing electricity grids have enough capacity to carry all of the renewable energy produced on top of energy produced from traditional sources. This requires an alternative way to avoid losses due to the temporary switching-off of solar and wind installations and converting the energy seems to be the best solution. In this case costs and availability of carbon dioxide must be considered.
On the other hand, P2G allows for higher revenues for s-TEG power plant due to the fact that one can decide, depending on the price, whether to feed electricity or synthetic methane into the grid in a kind of plant where carbon dioxide is available and where its production represent a cost (carbon tax) and a climate threat.
A new frontier is the integration of Power-to-Gas with biogas production using P2G as biogas upgrading system making conventional upgrading technologies obsolete. Combining an electrolyser with a biogas plant is particularly efficient: converting carbon dioxide containing in biogas almost doubles the amount of methane produced.
Energy markets have suffered profound changes in recent years. These changes have affected in particular Multi-utilities (in the business market of our interest Multi-utility refers to a company offering a wide range of services and / or products related to generation and distribution of electricity, methane and environmental services). Decline in demand, overcapacity, oversupply and reduction of marginalization, coupled with increased interest in environmental sustainability, have led companies to undertake strategic and technological efficiency-enhancing processes to tackle change and gain new opportunities.
The electricity producers have to deal with crucial challenges to be competitive, in particular those which suffer fluctuations in demand (and consequently in hourly price of energy) and are interesting in reducing CO2 emission.
ProGeo can be applied in every plant involved in electricity generation, both from fossil (small and large TEG – Thermoelectric Generator) and renewable (solar PV, solar CSP, wind, biogas) sources, converting low cost electricity in methane, and transforming a cost (e.g. carbon tax if due) in a revenue. The benefits we are expecting in adopting the ProGeo technology are exactly those included in the DoA that meets several market’s needs:
• Improving profitability of small-TEG power plant;
• Reducing CO2 emissions by developing processes for CO2 valorization, thus converting a cost (the carbon tax) into a revenue (the process product)
• Levelling energy production profiles, thus improving the efficiency.

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