Heat Recovery from a PtSNG Plant Coupled with Wind Energy


Power to substitute natural gas (PtSNG) is a promising technology to store intermittent renewable electricity as synthetic fuel. Power surplus on the electric grid is converted to hydrogen via water electrolysis and then to SNG via CO2 methanation. The SNG produced can be directly injected into the natural gas infrastructure for long-term and large-scale energy storage. Because of the fluctuating behaviour of the input energy source, the overall annual plant efficiency and SNG production are affected by the plant operation time and the standby strategy chosen. The re-use of internal (waste) heat for satisfying the energy requirements during critical moments can be crucial to achieving high annual efficiencies. In this study, the heat recovery from a PtSNG plant coupled with wind energy, based on proton exchange membrane electrolysis, adiabatic fixed bed methanation and membrane technology for SNG upgrading, is investigated. The proposed thermal recovery strategy involves the waste heat available from the methanation unit during the operation hours being accumulated by means of a two-tanks diathermic oil circuit. The stored heat is used to compensate for the heat losses of methanation reactors, during the hot-standby state. Two options to maintain the reactors at operating temperature have been assessed. The first requires that the diathermic oil transfers heat to a hydrogen stream, which is used to flush the reactors in order to guarantee the hot-standby conditions. The second option entails that the stored heat being recovered for electricity production through an Organic Rankine Cycle. The electricity produced is used to compensate the reactors heat losses by using electrical trace heating during the hot-standby hours, as well as to supply energy to ancillary equipment. The aim of the paper is to evaluate the technical feasibility of the proposed heat recovery strategies and how they impact on the annual plant performances. The results showed that the annual efficiencies on an LHV basis were found to be 44.0% and 44.3% for the thermal storage and electrical storage configurations, respectively.

Funding source: This research was supported by Regione Lazio, Progetti Strategici 2019 Progetto SINBIO “Sistemi INtegrati di produzione e immissione in rete di BIOmetano e gas sintetici da fonti rinnovabili,” Grant number F82I20000300002
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Italy

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