Renewable Natural Gas - Demonstrating the Potential of the World’s Biggest Battery


Renewable Natural Gas - Demonstrating the Potential of the World’s Biggest Battery



Subathra Rajendran


Presentation: 11:40 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Kennedy Union 207



TITLE: Renewable Natural Gas - Demonstrating the Potential of the World’s Biggest BatteryI. ObjectivesThe proposed effort aims the development of commercial and technological models to demonstrate the feasibility of a closed loop renewable natural gas power production model. This process is also called Power-to-Gas (P2G).II. Method(s)Power-to-Gas represents the conversion of electrical power into a gaseous energy carrier such as methane. The overall proposed approach to P2G involves the conversion of renewable/excess electricity into natural gas using high temperature electrolysis, carbon capture in the form of CO2, and catalytic methanation. The electrolysis generates hydrogen (from water), which combined with the captured CO2 (i.e. from power plants’ flue gases) forms, under a catalytic environment, methane (methanation). In order to assess the feasibility of such an approach, the following steps will be carried out:•Identification of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies for electrolysis/hydrogen production, carbon capture and methane production•Develop several integrated configurations of these technologies that are suitable for large-scale methane production (10 MW) and analyze their cost-benefit•Predict current and future costs associated with the proposed P2G systems III. SignificanceThe current geopolitical dynamics have more than ever highlighted the importance of energy independence. The existing US natural gas infrastructure has a capacity that would satisfy the domestic energy requirement for up to one year. However, it is only used at 30% of its capacity. Several countries, including the US, are racing to implement more renewable energy infrastructures. However, their dependence on natural events (sun exposure, wind intensity) often leads to peak energy productions where excess energy is lost. Thus, the ability to store such energy for later use would be of utmost importance. P2G offers a long-term and alternative solution to other energy storage technologies such as batteries or hydrogen storage. The methane produced from P2G can be stored directly in the existing infrastructure. Hence, an alternative to traditional batteries. Hydrogen storage has very strict requirements in terms of materials and safety, and the existing US natural gas infrastructure is not compatible for hydrogen storage. The proposed work will deliver several technological configurations and their associated costs for a large-scale P2G production. In addition, it will predict how improvements on existing technologies, in terms of costs and efficiencies, might affect P2G implementation costs in the future

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Kevin Hallinan

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium, School of Engineering

Institutional Learning Goals

Scholarship; Community; Critical Evaluation of Our Times

Renewable Natural Gas - Demonstrating the Potential of the World’s Biggest Battery